Garissa chiefs directed to report illegal land demarcations - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 2 October 2020

Garissa chiefs directed to report illegal land demarcations


Chiefs who fail to report illegal land demarcations in their areas of jurisdiction will be deemed accomplices in the unlawful process, a Garissa administrator has warned.

County commissioner Meru Mwangi said administrators are the eyes and ears of the government on the ground and no illegal activity should take place without them knowing.

He was reacting to complaints by leaders in Modigar on the outskirts of Garissa town, who say some land speculators were hiving and fencing off land meant for the Lapsset project, so they can be compensated.

Mwangi who toured the area on Thursday, said he did not understand how the land was fenced off without the knowledge of area chiefs and their assistants. He was accompanied by his security team and leaders from the area. 

“I can see that some of our chiefs have become lax in discharging their duties. The chiefs should have used the security agencies to stop the illegal demarcation,” Mwangi said.

The administrator said three people have been arrested in connection with the demarcation of land in the area and are assisting police with investigations.

“It does not matter your status in society, the law will catch up with you. This country is governed by the Constitution and everyone must abide by it,” he said.

Mwangi further said they are investigating title deeds and land leases. "We suspect some of them are fake. How do you acquire documents by identifying the land you want?” he asked.

Former Garissa mayor Ismail Garat said thousands of acres that have been fenced off belong to the community and are still being held in trust by the county and national governments.

“As far as I know and having served as the mayor of Garissa at some point, all land in Garissa was held in trust by the municipal or county councils then. With the advent of devolved governments, the mandate went to the county government,” Garat said.

“What we are seeing is a recipe for community conflicts. These speculators are taking advantage of our illiterate pastoralists to grab their grazing land. This is not right, and as leaders we shall fight for the rights of our people.”

Balambala subcounty administrator Suleiman Abduwaab said land in Garissa is an emotive issue and lives have been lost in the past because of it.

“We don’t want to lose more lives to land disputes,” he said.

Last month, Lands CEC Abdi Omar toured the area and warned that those involved in land grabbing would face the law.

"These cartels are hiving off the land for speculation purposes. They are targeting compensation from the Lapsset project," Omar said.

He said they had information that some foreign companies were acquiring land in the area by using locals as conduits. "We will not hesitate to take the necessary action to thwart their motive," Omar said.

The CEC termed the illegal demarcation as selfish and one driven by greed.

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