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State, Waitiki finally strike deal on 930-acre contentious farm

COAST
By Mwangi Muraguri | November 19th 2015
President Uhuru Kenyatta

The Government has reached an agreement on the controversial 930-acre Waitiki Farm in Mombasa on which thousands of squatters live.

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced yesterday evening that the Government had agreed on a framework with Evans Kamau Waitiki to solve the ownership dispute over the property.

A statement from the President's office announcing the conclusion of the agreement, directed acting Lands Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i to convene a meeting with local leaders in Mombasa to finalise the details.

"I am very pleased to announce that an amicable resolution has been found to the long–running dispute between Evanson Kamau, also known as Waitiki, and a number of other claimants to a parcel of land in Likoni, Mombasa County," read part of the statement.

The statement further quoted the President as saying: "I direct the Cabinet secretary for Lands to take immediate steps to implement the Framework Agreement. As a start, he should meet with local leaders as early as next week to work out the final details."

Uhuru said with prudent management every Kenyan can enjoy equal land rights.

Saying his government had answers to Kenya's land question, the President added: "My government has issued more than two million titles, and we are committed to securing land tenure for all Kenyans. Kenyans can expect us to continue to adjudicate disputed parcels of land."

The State House statement was however, silent about the financial aspect of the deal.

The Standard was unable to reach Waitiki for confirmation on the agreement. He neither responded to calls nor replied to text messages. An MP who was said to be have accompanied Waitiki to meetings with State officials did not respond to calls either.

In February, Waitiki set stringent conditions for the Government to meet before he would surrender or sell the land for settlement of squatters. He demanded Sh10 billion in compensation.

Suspended Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu had earlier said Waitiki had demanded Sh9.3 billion for his land. But Government valuers put its price at Sh2.64 billion and the Government's last offer was Sh1.1 billion.

In September, the Government gave new conditions for Waitiki and other claimants before it could acquire the farm for resettlement of squatters. The Government also demanded that Waitiki submitted records of all transactions done.

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