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State told to explain Isiolo land confusion

By Wainaina Ndung'u | December 12th 2019

Lands CS Farida Karoney when she appeared before the National Assembly Lands Committee at Parliament. [File, Standard]

The National Land Commission (NLC) and the Director of Surveys have been given 60 days to file inquiry reports on the chaotic land adjudication in Isiolo town.

The Lands and Environment Court, sitting in Meru, ordered the NLC to conduct an inquiry on legitimate owners of plots at Mwangaza, Chechelezi and Kiwanjani estates in Isiolo town.

The three sprawling settlement areas are among those with plot owners who have registered hundreds of disputes over claims of double allocation. The claims are subject to seven lawsuits being heard simultaneously by Land and Environment Court judge Lucy Mbugua in Meru.

Justice Mbugua said she would dispose by way of written submissions a preliminary objection lodged by the NLC on one of the cases and also proceed to make a ruling on another matter.

The Director of Surveys at the Ministry of Lands had also asked, through State Counsel Janet Kungu, for more days to file a status report on the land titling in the area, under the Rapid Results Initiative that was launched early this year.

"A team was sent to the ground but the report is not yet completed because the area is vast and we are requesting for more time," Ms Kungu had told the court.

The NLC and the Director of Surveys were ordered to make a report by February 11 next year, to enable other parties make their presentations before the matter comes up for hearing on April 29, 2019.

Most of the cases are between plot owners and the NLC, the Attorney General, the Isiolo County Government and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA). KAA is said to have settled some of the claimants in the area to create room for the Isiolo International Airport.

The Isiolo County’s chief officer for Lands and Planning Department Rashid Mude Arale has already filed a three-page affidavit over the disputed allotments in the expansive Mwangaza area near the Isiolo International Airport. Arale declared land ownership in Mwangaza explosive, with some residents holding ownership documents while other claimants have physically settled in their plots.

The affidavit is filed in one of the cases involving Mwangaza Legal Plot Owners (LPO) Self Help Group (SHG) against the Attorney General, NLC, Isiolo County Government, and the KAA.

“Almost all the genuine petitioners in possession of documents have not been settled since there is no land available,” the affidavit reads.

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