PING PONG

Titleholders cite mafia cartel in resurvey of disputed Kamiti land

Text message sent from county official shows programme of subdivision and allocation of plot

In Summary

• Titleholders and allottees maintain there is no directive to resurvey of the land 

• The text message says plots will be allocated from July 25 to August 3 

KAMITI FOREST SQUATERS
KAMITI FOREST SQUATERS
Image: STANLEY NJENGA

The Kiambu county administration has been accused of colluding with a mafia-like cartel to subdivide the disputed 419-acre Kamiti/Anmer land and dupe unsuspecting buyers. 

Titleholders and allotment letter holders want the ministries of Interior and Lands as well as the National Land Commission to step in and remove the cartel. 

The ownership tussle has been in the limelight for 25 years. It involves Kenya Forestry Service, Kamiti Forest Squatters Association, Kamiti Anmer Development Association, Muungano Kamiti group and Kamiti Anmer Development Welfare Group.

The KFS claims the parcel is part of forest land while the squatters claim they were rightfully given the land in 1995 via a directive by retired President Daniel Moi.

The 149 title and allotment letter holders claim there are people using dubious means through the administration to hoodwink the squatters.

A text message sent to the members by the former town clerk of the defunct Kiambu County P.M.G Kamau shows an agreement between him and the deputy county commissioner, who is also the chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee constituted by Parliament.

The text, seen by the Star, outlines the programme for a training session for the local communities on activities, process of verification and dispute registrations and conduct including proof of evidence scheduled for Monday, July 8.

"On the same day, the county representative surveyor will move to the ground to start the first process of resurvey which starts with the picking of structures to be respected during the process."

Further, "On July 9, verification of names would start at the DO's office in Kiambu. This will lead to the identification of areas of disputes. The process will continue till July 15. Dispute hearing will then start from July 16 up to July 23."

On July 24, starting from 9am, the ground committee will table to the central committee a full report on dispute resolution. Upon adaption by the committee, the report will be forwarded to all government departments including the Land offices for preparation of titles, it reads. 

"On the same day, the county survey director shall table a draft survey scheme which, upon approval, shall be forwarded to the survey director then forwarded to the chief of land registry, who shall forward them to the land officer for preparation of titles."  

This shall be from July 25 to August 3. By then the crash programme will have been constituted to meet the 60-day timeframe. It was also agreed that the 60 days start from last Friday including weekends. 

This, however, has not gone down well with the titleholders and allottees since there was no directive to resurvey the land.

Last Friday, Kiambu deputy county commissioner Njuguna Kiarie ordered – at a public baraza – the formation of Nyumba Kumi elders to plan how best the land will be subdivided.  

“We see some people sending text messages so that they can take over the whole subdivision of the land yet a gazette notice of degazettement of the forest land has not yet been published. The author of the message is neither a representative of any party nor a secretary,” allottee Perminus Wanjohi said.

The titleholders and allottees want the subdivision done in an open manner and supervised by the government to involve all parties and lock out those plotting to defraud people.

NLC Historical Land Injustice Committee led by Samuel Tororei on February 7 recommended and directed KFS to degazette the Kamiti Anmer Forest. On June 13, the Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Land directed that the land be degazetted for settlement. 

However, confusion has set in over how NLC and Parliament directives are going to be implemented since there is a court matter in Thika awaiting determination in November. 

In the case, Christopher Kanai Kamau, Peter Mwangi, Micheal Mwaura, Stephen Kimani, Kamiti Anmer Development Association have sued KFS, Kafsa, Muungano wa Kamiti Society and Kamiti Anmer Squatters Welfare for denying them access to the land despite having title deeds.

The court had earlier said title deeds held by the plaintiffs have not been revoked by any court, hence the status quo should remain.

NLC found the title deeds to be valid and the plaintiffs to be the rightful occupants. It directed that title holders and allottees adopt alternative dispute resolution with the squatters.

The parliamentary committee directed Lands CS Farida Karoney to consult with the Interior and Environment cabinet secretaries, and the NLC to ensure the allocation of titles and allotments through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Edited by R.Wamochie