× Business BUSINESS MOTORING SHIPPING & LOGISTICS DR PESA FINANCIAL STANDARD Digital News Videos Health & Science Lifestyle Opinion Education Columnists Moi Cabinets Arts & Culture Fact Check Podcasts E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS

Land dispute dampens Awendo property growth

By Jesse Sikali | April 23rd 2015
By Jesse Sikali | April 23rd 2015
Residents hope Parliamentary Committee on Land will offer a solution. [PHOTO: STANLEY ONGWAE / STANDARD]

Migori, Kenya: Property developers and investors in Awendo town are banking on the Parliamentary Committee on Land to resolve a protracted land dispute in the town.

The committee, led by Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, visited the town recently to help find a solution to the three-decade land dispute over 211 hectares, which is more than 65 per cent of Awendo town and its suburbs.

Thirty-three petitioners from Awendo town had successfully petitioned the Migori County Government and won court cases, which have seen the ownership of the land revert to them. But the Migori County Government has not allowed them to use the land.

“So far, the decision is at the committee level and we wait for a report which will soon be tabled in Parliament,” area MP Jared Kopiyo said.

It is said that the land had been irregularly acquired by the defunct Awendo Town Council from the national government, which had gotten it from squatters.

Jack Otieno, a landowner and property developer wanted to increase his rental houses by adding four more units to the six he has in Awendo town but has chosen to halt the plans after receiving an eviction notice. He is waiting for the decision by the committee.

Planning to sue

Otieno said they (landowners) are planning to sue for refunds from the Migori County Government in case the court decision is upheld by the committee.

The uncertainty has slowed down property development and related businesses in the town. George Muhando who has been operating a stone quarry around Awendo town says his business has slumped by over 60 per cent.

“We have suffered a setback as development has ground to a halt. Hardware business has also been hard hit and land values have dropped sharply as buyers can’t ascertain the true ownership of the land,” says Muhando. Nelson Onyango, the secretary of the litigants claiming ownership of the land, says that the Supreme Court directed that they be issued with title deeds but Migori County directed the land registrar not to issue the deeds until the matter is settled.

“The county government and Governor Okoth Obado intimidated us after 13 members of the group were offered title deeds and the rest are yet to get the documents,” Onyango told the committee.

Land grabbing

The group also the raised issue of grabbing of public land, giving the example of Tom Mboya Secondary School, which he noted was operating on less than two acres after more than 37 acres, which were initially set aside for its expansion, were irregularly allocated to developers by the defunct Town Council of Awendo and the matter has not yet been settled.

But area MP Jared Kopiyo, insisted the committee will help rectify the situation: “The issue of negligence on the part of people in authority to issue title deeds has been the main problem. We must come up with a way of safeguarding investors and push for compensation of landowners by the county government,” Kopiyo said.

The town’s property market has since the beginning of the year experienced slow growth, with many buildings stalling as a result of the land dispute. The group has, however, vowed to fight on until the issue is sorted out.

The members said they would not relent in their effort to make sure the Awendo land issue is sorted out so that property owners and developers can continue with the development of their land and help boost the economy of the town.

Share this story
Migori town runs out of space to expand
Migori town’s growth prospects are being threatened by lack of space to expand. A report tabled recently by the county land adhoc committee revealed that the town does not have enough space for constructing infrastructure and industrial facilities.
CS Najib Balala summoned over stalled project
There have been reports of cut-throat competition between agencies under the Ministry of Tourism.