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September 24, 2018

Murang’a scheme families at risk of losing land to grabbers

Maranjau settlement scheme resident Jane Wanjira shows documents she was given at the lands office as she awaited her title deed/ ALICE WAITHE
Maranjau settlement scheme resident Jane Wanjira shows documents she was given at the lands office as she awaited her title deed/ ALICE WAITHE

About 100 families living in Maranjau settlement scheme in Maragua subcounty, Murang’a, are living in fear after unknown people claimed the land.

The families have been living in the scheme since the 1970s but say they were never issued with title deeds despite being settled thre by the government.

Jane Wanjira, 65, said residents fear losing their land after some strangers went to the area with title deeds for the land.

Wanjira said last week, individuals who claimed they had a title deed for her one-acre piece visited her and told her to vacate the land as they planned to fence it.

She said in 2005 the government demarcated the land for them.

The then provincial administration brought land officers who registered them and gave them receipts after they paid for beacon

certificates.

Wanjira said the process of acquiring title deeds became difficult several years later after they discovered that the land was registered undern several private companies owned by prominent politicians and senior government officials.

“When we went to the then District Commissioner’s office at Kenol to ask why our titles were taking too long, we were told to conduct a search at the lands office.

That was when we found out that some other people had been issued with the deeds,” she said.

Wanjira said they made all the required payments and were only waiting for the title deeds.

She blamed the lands officials for frustrating their efforts to acquire ownership documents.

“I have lived in this land for decades.

Where do I go when they evict me, yet they have a title deed and I have nothing?” she wondered.

Her sentiments were echoed by James Karanja who said they are living in suspense as there are people moving around the area marking their farms.

Karanja said the land was public when they were settled and wondered when the companies obtained title deeds.

“Since 2005, we have been running up and down trying to get titles but it has become impossible,” Karanja said.

He appealed to the government to intervene and save their land so they can work on their farms and support their families.

He said the residents met the county executive in charge of lands Sarah Masaki last year hoping to get help but to no avail.

They do not have money to seek justice in court. Masaki confirmed meeting the residents, saying she is still following up on the matter.

 

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