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Kaimenyi and Swazuri defend Waitiki land charges

COAST
By Patrick Beja | February 8th 2016

The national government has defended the Sh182,000 charge on squatters allocated land on Waitiki Farm in Likoni.

Recently, the Opposition opposed the charges, with Governor Hassan Joho saying beneficiaries of the farm should not pay a penny. A week ago, the governor said it was unfair for the Government to buy land for squatters elsewhere in the country but charge those on Waitiki land.

But the Government said the amount is reasonable since an acre goes for Sh40 million at the farm, according to a Government valuation.

Brokered Deal

In a joint statement issued on Saturday, Lands ministry and National Land Commission (NLC) countered reports by Opposition that beneficiaries were unhappy with the deal brokered by the President. They said instead, the collection of the leasehold titles has picked momentum.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi and NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri said already, 1,400 beneficiaries have collected their documents, paying to Settlement Fund Trustee (SFT) a total of Sh700,000. The officials also said the certificates of lease issued to the land beneficiaries were authentic and would be used as collateral.

“It is important for beneficiaries to note that a leasehold title is an authentic document that can be used as a collateral like the leasehold. Any information to the contrary is incorrect and should be rubbished,” said the statement.

The CS and NLC boss noted 5,007 certificates of lease out of the total 7,807 are ready for collection but the remaining 28,000 have not been processed because information on identity card numbers was lacking, family disputes were yet to be resolved or beneficiaries failed to show up during adjudication and verification of plots.

 Free Land

A week ago, Joho said: “Coast people should be given free land by the Government like others elsewhere in the country. I am asking the beneficiaries of Waitiki land not to pay. It is our land and you should not pay.”

But Prof Kaimenyi and Swazuri said given the peculiarity of the situation pertaining to the Waitiki land occupation, the State adopted an owner-government assisted settlement scheme approach which cannot be compared to the normal programmes that are carried out either for landless poor or internally displaced persons. “In this respect therefore, it not possible to expect that beneficiaries of such schemes can be treated on same terms,” they said.

They fought off accusations that the State issued the Waitiki beneficiaries certificates of lease instead of freehold titles, saying even Evanson Waitiki owned the land on leasehold basis and so were the subsequent divisions.

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