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Assure Coast squatters

By The Standard | September 7th 2016
Lands CS Jacob Kaimenyi when he visited the lands office in Mombasa recently. PHOTO: FILE

NAIROBI: Issues about land ownership at the Coast date back to the colonial times. Nowhere else in Kenya are large communities living on their ancestral land as squatters.

Needless to say, there has been agitation for the issuance of title deeds to squatters yet successive governments have shown little or no enthusiasm.

Periodically, we are treated to government functionaries going through the motions over the thorny issue. What remains clear is that the land problem at the Coast has been politicised by successive governments and the opposition alike. But since the Jubilee-led coalition came into office in 2013, there have been obvious attempts to fix things.

Twice now, President Uhuru Kenyatta has been to the Coast to address the land problem. While the first issuance of title deeds did a lot to ease the frustration of the long-suffering locals, it was later claimed that the documents were not worth the paper they were written on. In his recent tour of the region, yet again, President Kenyatta gave out more title deeds. But the suspicion lingers on. What to do?

The government ought to demonstrate that the title deeds are genuine documents, especially in view of the claim by locals that banks don't accept them as collateral for loans, leaving them none the better.

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