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September 19, 2018

Waitiki Farm beneficiaries still waiting for titles two years on

Aerial view of the controversial Waitiki farm in Likoni within Mombasa county .Photo file
Aerial view of the controversial Waitiki farm in Likoni within Mombasa county .Photo file

Two years after the government started issuing title deeds for the 930-acre Waitiki Farm, at least 6,000 beneficiaries are yet to receive the document.

In January 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta led the issuance of 5,000 deeds in Shika Adabu area after it bought the land from Evans Waitiki for Sh1.2 billion to settle 11,500 squatters.

The remaining deeds were to be processed and owners were to collect them in three months.

That has not happened to date.

The governent also told squatters they must pay Sh182,000 to become legal owners of the land for 99 years.

Mbuyuni-Firdaus village elder Ali Mohammed said residents are yet to receive title deeds and there has been no communication.

He said when they visited the Lands office, they were told to be patient as the deeds are processed.

“Maybe it was a campaign strategy,” Mohammed said on Tuesday. He said the exercise was done in a rush “to give the President a ground on which to campaign in the area”.

After the issuance, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho said the county government would pay the amount demanded.

However, Mohammed said this has remained a political statement made during the election period.

“Joho was just speaking to make us happy because if he really meant it, the 5,000 beneficiaries would have been cleared by the NLC after the county paid the amount,” he said.

Lands executive Edward Nyale yesterday said the county is following up on the matter with the national government.

He said the Mombasa government wants all squatters across the county settled.

“The plan now is to have a land resettlement plan to address not only Waitiki, but squatters countywide. What we are trying to do is look for long-tenure credit at low interest rates which will be affordable,” Nyale said.

He said the county will offer support in providing complimentary services including surveying, mapping, subdivision, planning and might help in title registration.

County director of communication Richard Chacha said the Waitiki issue is among the key issues Joho wants addressed.

Joho has said the handshake between Uhuru and ODM chief Raila Odinga should not make issues including the port and SGR bottlenecks be swept under the rug.

Joho on Monday dismissed Deputy President William Ruto’s forays in the Coast, saying his 2022 run is “doomed”.

Joho said he will work with Ruto’s opponent as a strategy to ward the DP off Coast votes.

This followed concerns Joho was losing the region’s hold in the wake of Ruto’s attempt to woo the region’s leaders to back his presidential bid.

land prices up 10 times

Mohammed urged Joho and his government to keep their promise and pay.

Omar Khalifa’s title deed is among many which remain uncollected at the Lands ministry.

Khalifa said he is worried he will have to pay the Sh182,000 before he is given the deed.

He said he has never visited the Lands offices to inquire about his title deed, even though he said it must have been among the first batch to be produced.

Some beneficiaries have resorted to selling part of their land to settle the debt with the national government.

Asha Daudi is one such person. She sold one plot to get money for other two.

She, however, said it was not easy to get a buyer because of the many requirements the government placed to chase away cartels.

A clause in the deed said the owner needs to consult the National Land Commission before selling the parcel.

Daudi said a property lawyer made it possible for her to sell it, although the buyer had to pay the required Sh182,000 before the ownership was transferred.

“I used the money I got from the land and paid for the other two pieces,” she said.

There has been development in the area with housing units being built.

This has made the value of land rise.

Compared to some years ago when a quarter of an acre was sold for as low as Sh50,000, the same size now goes for Sh500,000

 

 

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