The national government has pledged to support Garissa county in re-planning the town, adjudicating land and issuing title deeds.
Lands CS Farida Karoney yesterday said since independence only 637 title deeds have been issued to residents. “I’m shocked and embarrassed to learn that in a population of over 600,000, only 637 title deeds have been issued. This means every year Garissa county gets only 12 title deeds,” she said.
Karoney said between now and June next year, Garissa will have 50,000 title deeds and more will be delivered depending on the re-planning.
The CS spoke during the launch of the re-planning, adjudication and titling of settlements in Garissa.
Karoney said she does not know what the Lands ministry has been doing in Garissa all these years. “It is sheer waste of taxpayer’s money. It means we are paying more to have officers posted in this part of the country and they are doing little,” she said. The CS said the state will deploy surveyors to the county.
Karoney was accompanied by ministry officials, who included national director of physical planning Augustine Masinde.
She toured a ring road built by the former municipal council to control the extension of Garissa town to its suburbs, before proper planning was implemented.
The CS promised to immediately set up a technical team consisting of Lands officials at the national level and the county government to re-plan Garissa town, create accessible roads and ensure the town has proper disposal sites.
She urged the county to prepare for the Lapsset project that will cut across six counties, including Garissa. The CS allayed fears the community will not be compensated for lack of title deeds.
“The county will hold the funds in trust until the community land is registered. I’m appealing for cooperation with the government to ensure the project is a success,” Karoney said.
County commissioner Joshua Chepchieng said 98 per cent of Garissa county is untitled, resulting to sporadic conflicts between communities.
Lands executive Mohamed Shale said the county has many challenges including population growth, which has spread into grazing lands.
He said lack of technical capacity to undertake planning and survey had been a major problem.
Shale said the three-mile boundary between Garissa and Tana River has been a hiccup to planning Garissa. “We area appealing to the government to lift the three-mile boundary issue put in place in 1957,” he said.The re-planning exercise will extend to the subcounties of Balambala, Modogashe, Ijara, Holugho and Dadaab, Masalani and Fafi.