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NLC faces hurdles in reclaiming 60 parcels of public land grabbed in Kisii

By Erick Abuga | April 12th 2016
NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri


KISII: The National Land Commission (NLC) is yet to repossess over 60 parcels of land said to belong to the public in Kisii town.

In February, while on a tour of the county, NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri had warned that buildings and other properties put up on public land would be pulled down starting March 20.

However, little has been done yet as wrangles over land persist, with more people still jostling for parcels said to belong to the Government.

Dr Swazuri noted the police force had no land to put up housing for officers, adding that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) office land and the county fire station had also been grabbed.

But even as the commission prepares to repossess some of these parcels of land, legal battles lie ahead.

There are currently 1,500 land cases at the Kisii High Court, with murder cases attached to some of the matters, with the commission facing a number of court injunctions.

Most of these parcels of land were either allocated by the defunct municipal council or the county council. Some individuals also bought the same from the two defunct councils.

emotive matter

Recently, Kisii County Lands Board ordered Seventh Day Adventist Millennium Church, Jogoo, to vacate a disputed parcel of land. The board said the land belonged to Kisii Children’s Welfare Society.

The board made the decision after visiting the said parcel of land, Kisii Municipality Block 3/153, and concluded that it was one piece and not two as claimed by the church.

In its report, the board noted the County Council of Gusii, through a letter to the Commissioner for Land referenced GCCMKT/8/17(20) and dated March 24, 2009, confirmed that the parcel remains in use by the Child Welfare Society. The defunct County Council of Gusii remains the proprietor and it will revert to it when the welfare group will declare it does not need it.

“Land in Kisii is an emotive matter. The rapid economic growth in Kisii has attracted a number of investors who want to buy land at any cost to put up mega investments. The government should come up with a formula on how to get back these parcels of land, otherwise forcible eviction will create more problems,” said Jeremiah Mokua, a Kisii town businessman.

Another major challenge in handling land matters in the county is the presence of middlemen who collude with alleged corrupt land officers.

Dr Swazuri warned officers in the Lands ministry against colluding to steal public land.

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