Anxiety among land buyers ahead pf CS’s meeting with land buying companies

From right: Cabinet Adminisrative Secreaty for Land ministry Gedion Mung'aro, Cabinet secretary for Lands Faridah Karoney, Laikipia governor Ndiritu Murithi and his deputy John Mwaniki during a press conference in Nanyuki. [Photo: Jacinta Mutura,Standard]

Anxiety has gripped members of land-buying companies ahead of a meeting with Lands Cabinet Secretary Faridah Karoney.

Members who have not received their title deeds from the companies expect that today’s meeting in Nanyuki Town will resolve the matter.

“It is good that the Government has shown interest in this matter because so many people have suffered due to corrupt land deals in Laikipia,” said John Mariu, a landowner in Kimugandura.

Muriu is among the many who hope the meeting will resolve such disputes so that the Government can issue them with title deeds and make sure the sanctity of the documents is respected by all.

He belongs to a group of over 100 people who came together and bought land, but cannot access it because some herders who have been residing there declined to leave.

“We bought the land from a certain company but the herders insist that it’s their ancestral land,” said Muriu.

Today’s meeting follows a consultative forum convened two weeks ago by the Cabinet secretary together with some county government officials, National Lands Commission, MCAs and locals over titling of land.

Karoney called for today's meeting with the directors of the companies following complaints lodged by the leaders that they (companies) were the key cause of fraudulent transactions of land.

Double allocations

The companies are said to be flocking to the county due to availability of cheap arable land.

Locals, MCAs and other stakeholders alleged that unsuspecting buyers grapple with double allocations, delayed issuance of title deeds, while other plots are occupied despite buyers possessing title deeds for the lands.

Some of the land-buying companies that are set to streamline their operations in order to settle ownership rows, include Kabanga, Tetu, Machamuka, Mifugo, Mbugio Ngai, Karimbura among others that own land in areas such as Matanya, Kimugandura and Rmuruti.

Most of the members have spent time following unending land cases in courts where more than three people have been allocated the same parcel of land by one company.

In areas hit by insecurity following illegal invasions, the issue of absentee landlords is expected to take prevalence during the meeting as the rightful landowners fled fearing attacks.

In some cases, some companies, which also run franchise saccos, reportedly closed offices in Laikipia without notifying their members.

During the visit, Karoney agreed that the directors of most companies have been the stumbling block towards issuance of title deeds.