February 23, 2024

Give Us Back Our Land, Magarini Residents Tell ADC

Jacob Kokani, a community leader in Chamari location, Magarini Kilifi County speaking to journalists in Malindi after Residents filed a petition at the County Assembly of Kilifi. (Photo/ The COAST Cameraman

By The COAST Reporter

Email, thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

Residents from four locations have filed a petition of Kilifi County at the Kilifi County Assembly (CA) seeking to resolve a boundary dispute between Agricultural Development Corporation on June 27, 2023.

The Chakama, Adu, Chamari and Bungale locations of Magarini Sub county residents want the CA to intervene and make sure the National Assembly report on the matter was implemented so that they could own the land also claimed by the ADC.

The ADC, according to them, has encroached on community land by extending the boundaries of the Galana and Kulalu ranches through the four locations from Kisiki cha Mzungu in Chakama location to Adu, thus, annexing thousands of hectares of community land and displacing them.

The impasse has stopped land adjudication works that had been declared by the Ministry of Lands in conjunction with Kilifi County government after the corporation claimed ownership of the land under adjudication.

In the petition signed by eight community leaders on behalf of the residents, they asked the assembly to push the County executive to liaise with Lands cabinet secretary to implement the report on petition number 004 of the NA’s Committee on Lands.

“We do hereby pray that the report on petition number 004 of 2021 of the National Assembly be complied with without further delay as there is already a delay of over one year since the matter should have been resolved,” the petition reads in part.

The residents asked for the resumption of the stalled adjudication process so as to continue to its completion as per notices issued by the lands officer.

They want adjudication with the accompanying maps be published without undue delay.

Speaking in Malindi town after filing the petition, the residents’ representatives claimed that despite the ADC claiming ownership of the land, a number of private individuals have already acquired title deeds within the land in dispute. They urged the CA to cancel the said titles.

Jacob Kokani, a resident, said the immediate former Magarini MP Michael Thoya Kingi petitioned NA on the matter and a report prepared by the Committee on Lands just before the end of the 12th Parliament, but it is yet to be implemented.

He alleged that ADC land occupies parts of Chakama ranch, and wondered why the corporation had laid claim on land from the border of Tsavo East National Park all the way to Adu.

“As a community, we want this matter resolved as fast as possible because through the county assembly since community land matters were devolved. If the land belongs to ADC, why did the parastatal allow schools and hospitals’ to be built in it?” he posed.

Ms Racheal Mwaro, a resident of Bungale location, called on the government to ensure the locals get title deeds for the land that has already been adjudicated and revoked titles belonging to influential and wealthy individuals from other parts of the country.

“What is baffling us is that although the adjudication exercise has been stopped, some wealthy individuals have been allocated land and issued with title deeds. This shows that some government officers are colluding with tycoons to dispossess the locals of their ancestral land,” she said.        

Institute of “Participatory Development – Kulamusana (IPD-K) executive director Raphael Mzungu Ngoma said the problem was cutting across land owned by group ranches formed after some individuals convinced locals to form ranching companies.

“The new land laws recognize all group ranches as community land but noted that registering the same as community land had many legal bottlenecks. He said there was a danger of locals losing out since powerful individuals were eyeing the ranches.”     

“Although we are talking about land belonging to the Waata and Giriama communities, I urged the government to prioritize issue of doing away with ranches and registering the same as community land to save them from invasion by outsiders,” he said.

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