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Team calls for land titles audit as dozens are evicted from scheme

By Erastus M Mulwa | March 6th 2017

The distribution of title deeds to individuals in Ndalani Settlement Scheme in Yatta constituency should be audited, a parliamentary committee has recommended.

The team, which visited the area at the weekend to investigate the eviction of families from Kivingoni last year, also recommended that the affected families should remain on the disputed land until the matter was conclusively addressed.

The investigations followed a petition by area MP Francis Mwangangi after unknown people raided the remote village in November and destroyed dozens of homes before kicking the residents out.

It appears the national government did not give the titles to the real landowners.

"The families must remain in their respective homes. The committee also recommends that the National Land Commission (NLC) revokes all illegal title deeds issued in this settlement scheme," said the parliamentary lands committee chairman, Tharaka MP Alex Muiru.

"NLC has a major role to play in the audit and review of the title deeds and allotment letter, which residents claim have been irregularly issued to powerful individuals in Government," he added. "We will work with NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri to ensure that any land titles that may have been issued irregularly are immediately revoked."

Mr Muiru also asked the local administration to ensure the safety of the residents on the scheme after they claimed they had received threats from unknown people.

Muiru was accompanied by committee members Bernard Bett (Bomet East), Itwiku Mbai (Masinga) and Hellen Chepkwony (Kericho County) as well as Mr Mwangangi.

During the hearings at Kivingoni shopping centre attended by hundreds of residents, the affected families claimed hired goons from Nairobi were driven to the scheme in buses. They said the invaders destroyed their homes under the supervision of the police and local administrators.

Pius Wambua, one of the residents, said the disputed land belonged to their grandparents who settled there soon after independence.

"We have buried our parents and grandparents here. We are therefore surprised that a few powerful individuals in Government got title deeds for hundreds of acres yet they have no history of this land," he said.

Benedetta Mutua, another resident, told the committee that a former OCS supervised the demolition of homes and the evictions by attackers who brandished weapons.

"We also want the Government to make it clear to us if senior police officers work with criminals because on the night of the evictions, the female OCS commanded the gang to evict us," she said.

Muiru said his committee would compile a report and table it in the National Assembly for action.

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