19 August 2014

Kenya: Kwale Residents Say They Will Defend Their Land

MWAEMBE and Kisima Chanze community in Msambweni have said they will defend a six-acres piece of land in court if the Kwale county government insists they are not legal owners.

Their spokesman Mohamed Mwatandara said they have all necessary documents given to them after agreement with the former leadership in the area that proves the land is theirs.

"How do they call us land-grabbers while the hospital land itself was given by our parents? Now they want to take even what is not theirs. We will not allow that to happen," he said.

Mwatandara said the community gave the government 31 acres, but retained the six acres along the beach.

"The land was being grabbed by outsiders and after getting approval from county council we obtained a title deed for the hospital land, which is 15 acres and other government offices, which we gave them," said Hassan Ngenya.

He said the county wants to take the beach land for their own benefit and not for the hospital as it is claiming.

"We want to develop the land by building hotels so that youth can get jobs and hospital staffs get houses," Ngenya said.

He said they have partnered with an investor to help them develop the land.

The elders spoke to the Star after a public baraza in Msambweni on Saturday after they were denied a chance to address residents in the meeting.

Governor Salim Mvurya attended the baraza.

Ndavaya MCA Juma Masoud said if there will be no land they will be forced to transfer the hospital to Kinango, where there is enough land.

"We cannot expand the hospital in the ocean or the air. There must be land and those thinking of selling part of the hospital land should forget it," he said.

Tiwi MCA Omar Mwakwambirizwa said Kwale leaders will protect land belonging to locals and government.

"Don't be tricked and sell land to tycoons," he said.

Mwereni MCA Kassim Pojjo said that without land, the hospital cannot be expanded.

Msambweni MCA Khatib Dzugwe was cautious on the land issue, saying the elders need to meet county leaders to get the way forward.

"We have not differed. There is a room for you to bring documents and we can decide the next step to be taken," Dzugwe said.

Mvurya said land brokers in the area have cost them a lot.

"They have made us to lose respect in the country. We have to give the referral hospital all facilities needed and that means land is a must," he said.


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