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President Uhuru Kenyatta issues Waitiki farm squatters with title deeds in historic event

COAST
By Benard Sanga | January 10th 2016
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto issue title deeds to Waitiki Farm squatters at the Shika Adabu grounds in Likoni, Mombasa County, yesterday. [PHOTO: OMONDI ONYANGO/STANDARD]

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said the beneficiaries of the 930-acre Waitiki farm settlement must pay the Sh182,000 for each parcel they have been allocated and dismissed coast leaders call to waive the fee as populist politics.

The President, however, said the government would stagger the payment to 12 years to enable the beneficiaries to pay Sh1,000 per a month.

The government has earlier said each beneficiary of Waitiki land would be required to pay Sh182, 000 within three years failure to which the land will attract interest at the rate of six per cent per year.

“I made the promise in 2012 that I’ll solve the Waitiki problem. Those from the other side told you not to trust us and you bought their argument and voted for them. But I’m back and have proved them wrong. My government would make sure land is not used for political gain but as a factor for production and wealthy creation,” said President Uhuru.

Yesterday the President, Deputy President William Ruto and several Cabinet Secretaries handed over 5,000 lease certificates to the beneficiaries sparking celebrations from the benefices and local leaders.

“Let us not play politics. We should tell our people the truth that this was a private land which we had to negotiate with the owner and buy it using money from the Settlement Trust Fund and that money must be returned,” said President Uhuru.

Other beneficiaries, Hussein Bachu and Selina Karisa termed the event as historic and a good gesture that the government was keen to solve the perennial land problem at the Coast.

“Our children and grandchildren will remember this day as the day we attained dignity,” said Bachu, who also received the his lease certificate from the President at an historic function held at Shika Adabu grounds in Likoni, Mombasa County.

President Uhuru said the government would also waive the interest of the fee and also assured the jubilant beneficiaries that the government would listen to proposals by the county government that had earlier indicated that it would offset the fee on behalf of the beneficiaries.

Election pledge

He said the government would move to Meru, Kitale and Uasin Gishu where there are similar  land problems.

“I cannot express my joy. We have lived in this land under fear for so many years. What the government has done is huge and we are willing to complete by paying the money,” said Mwanate Mohamed after she received the document from the President.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho at the same time announced that the county government will waive the over Sh400 million it is owed in unpaid rates since the land was invaded in 1997.

He said the government needed the money to enable it to purchase other parcels of land in the region to resettle other squatters.

“Today we are here to solve a problem that has remained unsolved for almost 30 years. We are fulfilling one of our main election pledge. Jubilee administration is a government for all Kenyan regardless of how they voted,” said the Head of State.

Coast leaders led by Joho had asked the government to waive the fee saying most of the beneficiaries were poor and could not raise the money.

“We ask that the government to give the residents the title deeds without condition or any payment. As the county we will waive the over Sh400 million for this poor people and not for the former owner (Evanson Waitiki),” said Joho.

He said the county government was willing to work with the national government to solve the squatter problem bedeviling the county and the region as a whole.

“We have squatter problems in Kisauni, Changamwe and other parts of Likoni and as the county we are willing to work with your administration to solve this problem,” said Joho.

Ruto said the Jubilee administration was keen to fulfil all its election pledges and would serve all Kenyans regardless of how they voted in the last election.

He lashed out to the Opposition leaders and a section of the media who were questioning the delegations visiting him saying that it was part of Jubilee plan to bring all Kenyans under the new movement aimed at uniting the country.

“How does my visitor disturb you? My wife who cooks for them has not complained, so why you are complaining. I’ve not asked you to come and assist my wife,” said Ruto.

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