Colonial villages remain a sour remnant of colonisation

Residents of Kirichu colonial village in Nyeri County who claim to have been squatters since Kenya gained independence follows a proceedings during one of their meeting. PHOTO:KIBATA KIHU/STANDARD.

After more than 50 years of living in colonial villages in Central Kenya, thousands of families hope to finally receive title deeds for their homes.

The villages were set up by the British colonial government to house thousands of locals who were displaced from their prime agricultural land by the settlers.

Close to half a century later, generations of the displaced continue to live on the small pieces of land, whose ownership they cannot prove.

However, this is set to change as demarcation, which has been ongoing for the past two years through the collaboration of the county and national governments, has been completed.

It is hoped President Uhuru Kenyatta will issue close to 1,500 title deeds to the affected during today's Madaraka Day celebrations.

However, officials could not confirm this, with State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu referring The Standard to Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, who failed to respond on the matter.

But both Nyeri County and the national government's lands and physical planning departments were abuzz with activities as they prepared for issuance of the crucial documents.

During the colonial era, at least 840 villages were set up by the British government across the Central region with Nyeri County hosting the highest number at 220.

Over the years most of the villages became major towns and as of 2013 when the county government was coming into office, only 116 villages with 6,583 households were in existence.

At least 983 acres in the county are occupied by villages and the process of demarcation has been slow and painful, as families try to grapple with pressure for more space.

Residents such as Waguthi Kaloji have been living in Kiruchu village since 1953 and are still waiting for the treasured title deed.