State kicks off land titling for South Ngariama Ranch

Thursday, February 15th, 2024 03:21 | By
South Ngariama residents, during a public baraza. PHOTO/KNA
South Ngariama residents, during a public baraza. PHOTO/KNA

Thousands of residents in the disputed 17,000-acre South Ngariama Ranch in Mwea East Sub-county in Kirinyaga, are set to be issued with title deeds, as the Ministry of Lands kicks-off the adjudication process.

The long-awaited exercise is taking place with the National and County government mobilising dozens of surveyors to undertake the exercise.

The exercise kicked-off, Tuesday, with the surveyors backed by a contingent of police moving round to determine external boundaries of the Settlement Scheme.

This will pave way for the declaration of the area, as an adjudication section before the start of internal boundaries identification.

The commencement of the adjudication exercise follows a court order issued by Justice John Mutungi, sitting at Kerugoya Environment and Lands Court, directing the Ministry to resolve the disputes, that have rocked the area for over three decades.

Assistant Director for Adjudication and Settlement in the Ministry of Lands, Ezekiel Kiania, said after declaration of the area, as an adjudication section, the team will undertake a recognisance survey, which will involve data collection on existing facilities including hospital, wetlands, riparian, schools among others.

He said that over 40 land Surveyors drawn from Ministry of Lands Headquarters and from the neighbouring counties, will be on the ground to offer technical support to the process.

Kiania said, during the exercise, all land owners are required to be present on their parcel of land, with documents to prove ownership.

The exercise has renewed hope for about 8,000 residents, who have been waiting for title deeds for decades.

Kiania called on residents to support the initiative, pledging to oversee the process in a fair and transparent manner. “Our duty here is to ensure that the rightful owners, get their title deeds, and to amicably resolve any arising issue, we urge for peace and patience, as we seek a solution to this problem,” he said.

Public participation

The County Executive (CECM) for Lands, Rev Samuel Kanjobe, who represented governor Ann Waiguru in the public participation forum, urged residents to co-operate and ensure the process was successfully concluded, adding that there was political goodwill to have the residents get their land ownership documents.

During a recent visit to the area, governor Waiguru said the adjudication and issuance of title deeds, had been delayed by endless disputes over ownership.

“As you can recall, we had started the adjudication process, but were stopped due to political interference. We are hoping that the process will be concluded and no one loses their parcel of land, to middlemen and brokers,” said Waiguru.

Current tenure

Waiguru had then underscored the issuance of title deeds in South Ngariama, as one of the priority objectives for her current tenure.

“We are resolute in our mission, to secure title deeds for the rightful 8,200 families, and reclaim unlawfully appropriated public land. We will spare no effort in achieving this goal,” she said.

The governor further said that the County Government, has no other interest other than to ensure that the land matter was permanently settled.

South Ngariama residents, hailed the County Government, for keeping the pledge to solve the long-standing issue. Nancy Wanjiku expressed the community’s collective relief, as the adjudication process commenced.

She emphasized that having ownership documents, will save the community from disputes within the land that at times escalated to violence.

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