The National Land Commission chairman Mohammed Swazuri has assured Trans Nzoia residents that all grabbed public land will be repossessed. Speaking yesterday in Kitale during a meeting with county officials, the NCL boss said the region has many cases of land grabbing that have stalled development of the county.
“The county government cannot build anything because all the land that was set aside for the construction of public facilities has been grabbed by a few individuals,” he said. Swazuri said the commission has started repossessing land across the country to ensure all fake and illegally acquired title deeds are tracked and revoked. “We shall verify all tittle deeds and if we find out that you grabbed land, then we will not have any other option but to return the land to the public,” he said.
Swazuri cautioned administration officials against giving out public land or getting involved in land buying or selling, saying the commission had received reports that some local administrators are participating in illegal land transaction. He said it is illegal for any administration officer to give out public land. “We hear that some chiefs are giving out land.
That is against the law and we will not tolerate that, we are in the new system of governance” warned Swazuri. He said those who are planning to impede the commission’s work because they have built structures on illegally acquired land will not succeed as all buildings constructed on public land will be demolished. Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba has been quoted in the media saying more than 95 per cent of land allocated for construction of a modern market and bus terminus in Kitale had been grabbed. He threatened to repossess the land because it has negatively affected the expansion of Kitale town and construction of a modern bus stage.
“We will not allow a few individuals to take all land within Kitale town. We shall repossess all land with the help of the land commission,” he said recently in Kitale while meeting the local business community. Khaemba had initiated a move to conduct a forensic audit on all public land in the area to establish and repossess grabbed or land allocated unlawfully to individuals.
He said the issue of land in Trans Nzoia is complex, adding that the truth can only be unravelled through a forensic audit. “We want to conduct a forensic audit on all public land in Trans Nzoia to unravel the mysteries surrounding these complex and difficult cases,” said Khaemba. He said his government can initiate a move on whether to repossess whatever land in question and ways of getting the land back from the audit.
Speaking in Cherangany a week ago, Khaemba said large junks of land belonging to the defunct municipal and county council together with that of government ministries have been taken over by individuals. He said more than 300-acre land belonging to Agriculture ministry adjacent to the current county administrative offices and more than 150 acres belonging to the Kitale Technical Training Institute have been grabbed.