Jubilee Govt To Buy Likoni Farm To Settle 100,000 Squatters

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Ruto LikoniGenuine landowners at the coast will in the next one month be issued with title deeds as part of the Jubilee government’s promise to ensure that at least 50 per cent of the resident receive titles by the end of its first five year term.

“We must, inside five years, have at least half of the residents own title deeds,” Ruto told leaders from Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties during a dinner he hosted for them at the Tamarind Dhow hotel in Mombasa.

Ruto said the first to be issued with titles are owners of land that has no registered dispute. He said efforts will be made through the National Land Commission, to reach amicable solutions for those with disputes and court cases.

Ruto announced the Waitiki farm in Likoni, which is at the centre of a long running dispute will be bought by the government and will be amicably shared with the over 100,000 squatters who have settled there.

“We will also solve the Dunga Unuse dispute in Changamwe,” Ruto promised.

Dunga Unuse is a five acre plot overlooking the port of Mombasa from where squatters were brutally evicted last year by goons hired by people who claim to own the plot. Over 5,000 people live in shanties and makeshift homes in the disputed plot.

Last month, the National Land Commission chairman Dr Mohammed Swazuri said the plot would be reposed as soon as investigations into its acquisition by influential individuals in the country are completed.=

Tension has remained over a stalemate in the controversial 930-acre Waitiki farm after a committee established to advise the Lands Secretary Charity Ngilu over the matter failed to be instituted.

Ngilu had visited the farm in May this year and promised that no evictions would take place and had promised to issue 6,000 title deeds for landowners in the area within a month.

Ngilu had also instructed the Likoni MP, Masoud Mwahima to set up a committee to advise her on the matter. To date, Mwahima has failed to do so over wrangling between his office and locals as to who should be a member of the committtee.

Evanson Waitiki, the owner of the expansive farm has for nearly two decades been fighting to take it back following his ejection during the 1997 ethnic-clashes.

Waitiki has all along accused local leaders of politicizing the case. The High Court has since ordered the eviction of the illegal squatters but the police and administration have been unable to effect it for fear of antagonising the local community and political leadership.

Waitiki has also denied suggestions that he has agreed to sell the farm and said nobody in government has approached him with such a proposal.

“I have received no communication whatsoever. Politicians speaking over this are trying to make them gain mileage. I was shocked with Ngilu’s statements, if they come forward, and are honest with claims of negotiations, I will negotiate with them. I have been waiting all this time, but all am seeing is news in the media, nothing tangible.”

Nairobi senator Mike Sonko has also reportedly met with a few elders in Likoni in relation to the land issue and also met with Waitiki but concrete outcome has followed these meetings.

– the-star.co.ke

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