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Community in fresh bid to register Yala swamp land

By Isaiah Gwengi | September 29th 2019

A picture of Lake Kanyabola and Yala swamp in Usenge, Siaya County. The Community is in fresh bid to register land. [Denish Ochieng/ Standard]

Residents of Yala swamp have begun the process of registering the swamp to ward off cartels seeking to benefit from the process.

The residents in partnership with a local NGO – Support Community in Democracy Alliance (SCODA) and Yimbo Union now want the swamp registered under community name as stipulated in the constitution.

In April, the National Land Commission (NLC) ordered a fresh survey in the swamp after the local community petitioned the commission.

In a March 1 Gazette notice, the NLC approved their complaints and recommended that the ministry and the county government re-survey the swamp to determine the acreage under Dominion Farms, which has since left the swamp.

The community petitioned the NLC after the High Court dismissed the suit against Dominion Farms eight years ago.

The commission also asked the Ministry of Lands and Siaya County Government to give any excess land outside the gazetted parcel back to the community.

Today, the  Secretary of SCODA Mr Rodgers Ochieng’ said they have embarked on a journey to have the land registered even as they wait for county government to complete the demarcation and resurveying exercise which had been started at the wetland.

Speaking to The Standard in Bondo town, Ochieng stated that the community needs to understand that they will only be able to have a voice for instance when a new investor wants to come into the swamp if they lawfully register the community land.

“Should the community fail to register the swamp in their name, they will not be in a position of assisting with the decision making on which investor that can be allowed into the swamp,” argued Ochieng.

He urged the residents to unite and show the government the intention that they have of registering the land under community name.

He added, “We have organized several sensitization meetings to enlighten members of the public on the need to register the wetland under community name.”

He was flanked by the Organizing Secretary of Yimbo Union Mzee Thomas Achando chairman of Yimbo farmers association Thomas Ochieng Ongogo who impressed upon the county government to hasten the demarcation process to pave way for the registration of that land.

The expansive agricultural complex has been lying idle since November 2017 when Dominion Farms exited, citing an unstable political environment that was not conducive for business.

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