A section of Malindi Sub County squatters in Kilifi County have felt a taste of freedom after the national government issued them with land title deeds.

The squatters especially in Malindi town who have been living at the mercy of known and unknown landlords due to constant threats of eviction can now rest easy and invest on their pieces of land.

In the exercise that is being led by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, Malindi Sub County alone has benefitted with 8,000 land title deeds out of which Muyeye and Kibokoni informal settlements in Malindi town got 1,200 land title deeds. Kilifi County was allocated 39,800 title deeds.

The residents expressed their joy stating that their fears are now a thing of the past since they have their own parcels.

Mr. Stembo Kaviha, the chairman of Kibokoni, Sabaki Beach Squatters Association said that for the first time residents will own beach plots.

“This is a day of joy because we have received CS Balala on behalf of the government to get our title deeds. The era of land grabbers and tycoons is coming to an end and residents will now live and invest without the fear of evictions,” he said.

He added that the constitution had enlightened residents of their human rights and it is through the law that the land was surveyed by the government.

“Tycoons and absentee landlords have retreated since the survey of this land started and this was made possible after years of struggle and civic awareness on our rights As the chairman of squatters we fought the tycoons off until the government recognized us and came to survey the land and now we are optimistic that the title deeds for the Sabaki beach area that are pending will also come out,” he added.

At Muyeye/ Maweni informal settlement, Mr. Daniel Kazungu, the chairman of Muyeye Maweni Squatters said that the frequent violent evictions and unending court battles will now end as the people will no longer be squatters.

“We started the fight long time ago and three years ago the government came to our aid with the help of Gideon Mung’aro who was the then Chief Administrative Secretary for lands frequently who always kept us on toes to ensure that we provided the necessary support to the government surveyors and we here today to feel and taste the freedom of owning land,” he said.

The two Kibokoni/ Sabaki and Muyeye/ Maweni/ Musoloni informal settlement project was done by the Kenya Urban Support Program (KUSP), a program funded by the World bank and implemented by the Ministry of lands, the ministry of Infrastructure, Transport, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works.

Mr. Kazungu added that the survey started in 2017 and ended in 2018 and residents were kept waiting as the documents were being processed.

He urged residents to invest on their parcels land and desist from selling them since it had taken them years to achieve freedom.

Mr. Mung’aro who accompanied CS Balala said that more work was still being done and residents should expect more title deeds and permanent solutions to landlessness.

“When I was at the ministry of lands as CAS, I initiated the process of purchasing the Mazrui lands in Msabaha and Takaungu areas, the Kagaa land in Kilifi town and Kakanjuni lands in Mtwapa,” he said.

He added that the controversial Chembe Kibabamche and Kilifi Jimba settlement schemes were being redone since there was double and triple allocation of title deeds in past processes.

“Chembe Kibabamche and Kilifi Jimba are being re-done because there was double allocation of title deeds and when the process is over the government will give out the title deeds,” he said.

He promised that if elected as governor, he will ensure that all land that has not been surveyed will be surveyed by his administration and forwarded to the national government for title deeds to be processed.

“When I become Governor God willing, I will survey all the land that has not been surveyed and partner with the national government to process title deeds. We shall also talk to private land owners with squatters inside so that we can purchase the land and distribute it to the squatters,” he said.

“Those who reside on other peoples’ land in areas like Sea Breeze and Kwa Chocha we assure you that the land will be bought and you will be settled on it,” he added.

Politicians allied to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya led by Kakuyuni ward MCA Nickson Muramba said that distribution of title deeds was not a campaign tool as portrayed by the Kenya Kwanza brigade.

“If distribution of land title deeds is politics then it is good politics. Some are saying that Uhuru Kenyatta is issuing title deeds to campaign for Raila Odinga, were the titles to wait until the elections are over?” he said.

Other leaders who praised the issuance of title deeds include the chairman of the Coast Development Authority (CDA) Phillip Charo who called on residents to vote for leaders who will work with the government to bring development and Malindi MP aspirant Amina Mnyazi.

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of https://www.ktmn.co.ke KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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