Kisumu to create a land bank

By Kepher Otieno | Thursday, Sep 6th 2018 at 22:46
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Kisumu County Governor Anyang' Nyong'o. He has promised to repossess grabbed land. [File, Standard]

The Kisumu County government has embarked on a mass audit of all public land issued to investors and private developers in the past 10 years.

Those found to have been irregularly acquired would be repossessed, a source said.

The county has repossessed 126 acres of land in the ongoing purge on illegal allotment of public land by the defunct county council and municipal authorities.

According to the county executive member for lands, Dickson Obungu, Governor Anyang' Nyong’o has also ordered the repossession of all unclaimed plots.

''Those who have acquired land illegally or have not processed title deeds to date may lose the plots in the ongoing mass audit of public land here,'' said Mr Obungu

Prof Nyong'o has tasked the lands department to come up with a comprehensive database of all parcels, registered or not, in the ongoing purge against cartels.

''We want all parcels of land issued as leases or acquired in the name of the county government to be registered afresh with our registry,’’ the governor ordered.

There have been concerns that thousands of plot owners hoard land for speculative purposes.

''Many plots owners are reluctant to sell because they expect prices to rise in the near future,’’ claimed Obungu.

Special purposes

More than 5,000 hectares suspected to have been illegally allotted have been identified and their cases marked for investigation.

Obungu said 126 acres had been repossessed in Muhoroni scheme.

Hundreds of acres in Muhoroni were reserved for special purposes, but investigations have revealed that some parcels were in the hands of private developers.

''We have started from the outskirts of Kisumu coming to the town and we must reclaim the lands in Muhoroni schemes,'' Obungu told The Standard.

Some of the schemes are held by the national government, the county, State corporations and individuals under freehold.

Records show that approximately 50 per cent of the county's land is underutilised, with sparse or no development, especially in the rural areas.

Most of the land in the county is not registered, hindering people from asserting their rights over it.

The county authorities have said that due to economic and population pressure, small parcels continued to be subdivided into uneconomical sizes.

''So securing and repossession of public land illegally occupied will enable the county to put them back to the right use,'' said Tom Ogolla, the person coordinating the drive.

He underscored the need for spatial planning to manage land use, ownership, control, acquisition, allocation and provision of major development schemes.

The drive is aimed at making land available for investors seeking to put up cottage industries, real estate or commercial enterprises.

The county land department had sought Sh500 million for the establishment of the county land bank in its annual development plan.

County assembly

'Only Sh40 million was approved by the county assembly when the budget was presented in the House," Obungu said.

Sources at the land office said more than 1,000 title deeds had been found to be shared by more than one person.

The county administration also intends to mark out land for estates, parastatals, private leases and Government entities to help archive and geo-reference the database.

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