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Uhuru's directive on resettling squatters turns chaotic

By Standard Team | Published Wed, August 30th 2017 at 00:00, Updated August 29th 2017 at 23:14 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta (Photo: Courtesy)

Two opposing camps faced off on Tuesday during the ongoing demarcation of land at Ndumano village in Mathira East.

A faction opposed to the subdivision of the colonial village stopped government surveyors from demarcating the land, arguing that it belongs to the public and should not be dished out to individuals.

The surveyors were on the ground to demarcate the colonial village as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who had called for issuance of title deeds to residents of colonial villages.

But a group of residents claimed the land had been set aside for public utilities, including schools, cattle dip, market, and sub-chief's office.

"We are not opposed to anyone accessing land but that should not be done at the expense of other members of the community," said John Machira.

Wrong beneficiaries

He said some of those identified as beneficiaries did not deserve the land since they were not residents of the colonial village.

But the intended beneficiaries marched to Magutu chief's office in Giakaibii yesterday in protest.

"This was a presidential directive, so why should other people who have less power than the President tell us that there is no land and send the surveyors away?" George Kinyua asked.

They accused those opposed to the demarcation of blocking their resettlement after years of living as squatters.

"Where is our right?" said Nancy Wangu.

Magutu chief Rose Mumbi promised to convene a meeting to resolve the standoff.

"I was not there so I do not know what exactly happened but I will convene a meeting with the surveyors and Ministry of Land officials so that we can get a way forward," Mumbi told the demonstrators.

The process of surveying and handing out title deeds for colonial villages has hit several snags since June, when the process commenced.

Some residents are suspicious of the entire process and have often complained that the rightful beneficiaries have been  sidelined in favour of strangers - mostly government officials and tycoons.