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Friday, August 18, 2017

Criticos gives 1,000 acres to squatters

Former Taveta MP Basil Criticos with Taita Taveta deputy governor Mary Ndigha at Taveta on Thursday. /RAPHAEL MWADIME
Former Taveta MP Basil Criticos with Taita Taveta deputy governor Mary Ndigha at Taveta on Thursday. /RAPHAEL MWADIME

The Taita Taveta government has approved a plan to subdivide 1,000 acres to settle 1,000 squatters.

The land was given up by former Taveta MP Basil Criticos, who is seeking a comeback.

The Agricultural Finance Corporation took over Criticos’s 7,200 acres after he failed to repay a Sh400 million loan taken between 1988 and 1989.

In February, the AFC announced it will sell the land to recover the money.

On Thursday, Criticos said the squatters will be settled where they have built permanent structures.

“After consultations between the residents and AFC, it was agreed through a consensus that residents of Eldoro, Kimorigo, Python Hill, Riata and Mokine be settled on land they occupied at that particular time,” he said at the governor’s offices in Wundanyi.

Criticos said those who bought land in 2009 before squatters invaded it will be reallocated land in the same scheme after consultations with AFC.

no bloodshed

Deputy Governor Mary Ndigha, who is also Lands executive, welcomed the gesture, saying it will go a long way in tackling the squatter problem.

“After three years of vigorous consultations,, we have made history today by settling squatters amicably without shedding blood, contrary to a common belief that land issues can never be resolved peacefully,” she said.

The AFC has set aside Sh300 million to give as loans to squatters who want to buy farming land. They will be offered at 10 per cent interest for five years.

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