21 March 2019

Kenya: Grabbers Go for Unclaimed Land in Embakasi

A new wave of land grabbing has erupted in the controversial Embakasi Ranching Company even as the government announced that it would be issuing title deeds to shareholders soon.

Grabbers are targeting undeveloped parcels as well as those that were not claimed in the vetting ahead of a titling programme expected to be announced soon, said the ranch's chairperson, Lucy Mathenge.

She said there is a possibility that those involved have knowledge of the government register containing the names of those to be issued with the title deeds, to enable them choose parcels that have not been claimed.

"The scheme involves a cartel of land grabbers who are invading undeveloped and unclaimed plots," she told Business Daily.

"They are erecting fences and if no one comes forward to claim ownership, they are subdividing those parcels and putting them up for sale."

List of shareholders

There are fears the scheme involves some of the ranch's management members as well as ministry officials who were involved in compiling the list of shareholders.

Ms Mathenge said the ranch's management has been liaising with security agents to ward off the grabbers.

"But we want to be very precise that the ranch cannot guarantee security of plots, that is the duty of individual owner. Where we can, we will assist but we are not giving absolute guarantee of security," she said.

Suspected saboteurs of the titling programme that has delayed for over a year are the ones behind the grabbing spree, she noted.

"Their trick is to grab as many plots as possible and after the government issues title deeds to the genuine shareholders, they commence litigations to repossess those parcels," she said.

Land Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung'aro has announced that the ranch's title deeds are ready and will be released soon.

"We are not turning back on this. We have been very meticulous on the way we have been vetting the shareholders register. We are now sure that we have got it right and all those to be titled are the genuine shareholders," he said.

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