By Fumo Mzalendo
The Lamu County executive has sharply differed with its county assembly over the subdivision of land schemes in the county.
The land schemes in question include Vumbe Kiongwe, Magogoni Phase 2 (Swahili Scheme), Muhamarani Phase 2 and Witu Phase 2.
The Lamu County Assembly clerk has written to the Chairman of the National Land Commission distancing the Assembly from any planned land allocation of schemes by the county government.
In a letter dated 27th May 2022, Lamu County Assembly Clerk Omar Ahmed Ali wrote in an excerpt of the letter that the county government could not subdivide the settlement schemes due to lack of approvals by the Lamu County Assembly.
“The County Assembly notes with concern that all the proposed settlement schemes in the county have not been presented to the county assembly for approval pursuant to the provisions of the constitution and sections 9(3) the Land Act 2012,” the letter stated.
The letter points out that any move allocate the schemes without the approval of the county assembly will be a violation of the constitution and the laws of the country.
The County Assembly’s directive is likely to serve as a blow to Lamu County Governor Fahim Twaha’s campaign plans, chief among which is the subdivision of the settlement schemes.
The subdivision of the land schemes were a campaign pledge made to squatters in the 2017 elections and there has been mounting pressure on the incumbent to release the title deeds.
Last year, the Lamu County Assembly Speaker Abdul Kassim and Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha openly differed during the Madaraka day celebrations over the subdivision of the Swahili scheme with the former openly defying the governor’s stance that the land will be subdivided into quarter acre parcels among squatters.
Following the leak of the letter, County Assembly speaker Abdul Kassim this week told journalists that the county assembly had decided to write the letter to the NLC due to what he termed as irregularities in the subdivision of the land schemes among squatters.
“The county executive has failed to provide the county assembly with the list of names of those who are supposed to be beneficiaries of the schemes,” he stated.
He added that the county executive had planned to issue the titles irregularly and had not involved the county assembly in the land subdivision process.
“The governor is trying to hurry the process of issuing title deeds as a way to appease voters ahead of the August 9th polls,” Abdul Kassim said, adding that the county assembly was within its right to check the county executive on behalf of Lamu residents.
National Land Commission Lamu Coordinator Ken Mwaita on his part stated that he had not received a copy of the letter and had instead been sent directly to the Chairman of the NLC whom he stated would address the matter objectively.
He however noted that the Lamu County Assembly was within its right to demand that they be allowed to play their part as enshrined in the Constitution and as per the law.
Efforts to reach County Assembly Lands Committee Chairman Anab Mohammed were futile as she did not respond to our calls
However on his part Land County Assembly Lands Committee member Yahya Ahmed stated that contrary to the county assembly speakers’ assertions the public should isregard the letter and revealed that the Lands Committee had already approved the budget for the demarcation, survey and subdivision of the land.
“The County assembly lands committee will soon issue a statement in regard title deeds issuance in Lamu,”he stated.
On her part, former lands CEC Fahima Araphat stated that the county executive was committed towards resolving land issues in Lamu by first issuing titles to squatters in various schemes.
She further said that it is only by resolving land issues in Lamu that investors can be comfortable enough to invest especially with the coming of the Lamu Port.
She urged politicians to desist from playing politics with the title deed issuance initiative in various schemes and assured the public that the titling remains on course
Lamu County Governor Fahim Twaha had in March this year issued an election pledge that title deeds in various schemes would be issued ahead of the August 9 polls.