Gov’t revokes irregularly acquired title deeds of 350,000 acres of land

President Kenyatta
President Kenyatta

The government has revoked the title deeds of more than 350,000 acres of irregularly acquired land in Lamu County.

According to Land Cabinet Secretary Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi, the land, which compromises 12 parcels whose notice of revocation had expired, has since been returned to the county government for public use.

Kaimenyi disclosed that more title deeds to irregularly acquired land will be revoked and returned to the public for “farming and other development”.

On Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta met leaders from Lamu at State House, Mombasa, and advised them to use the available land for the benefit of their people.

“You can set aside land for industries, markets and other public amenities that will directly improve the lives of the people,” President Kenyatta said.

Speaking ahead of his two-day visit to Lamu on Thursday, the President said he will issue title deeds to land owners in seven villages in Mkunumbi, calling on residents to use the land to improve their welfare.

President Kenyatta will visit Mpeketoni and Mkunumbi on Thursday and conclude the visit on Friday in Lamu Island.

Among Lamu leaders present at the State House meeting include Governor Issa Timamy, Senator Abu Chiaba, Members of Parliament Sharif Ali Athman (Lamu East) and Julius Ndegwa (Lamu West).

The Head of State assured Lamu residents that his government is keen on improving the road networks in the county, starting with the tarmacking of the Witu – Mokowe road.

“I will personally make a follow up to ensure that improvement of this road is not delayed. We want to make 2016 a historical year when Lamu County joins the rest of Kenya in development, especially in infrastructure,” President Kenyatta said.

He further stated that the government will release Ksh 100 million in its Supplementary Budget for the improvement of Lamu Hospital in line with the objective of the national government to upgrade two health facilities in each county to referral status.

President Kenyatta further called on Lamu residents to cooperate with security agencies to boost security, saying the move will open up the county for rapid economic growth particularly in the tourism sector.

The visit by President Kenyatta will be the first since he was elected into office in the 2013 elections, and comes at a time when the government, through security agencies is making frantic efforts to curb insecurity in the attack-prone area.

The region, which is a key tourism destination, has been riddled by constant Al Shabaab threats with the most notable one being the Mpeketoni attack that led to the killing of over 60 people in 2014.

Politically, Lamu is widely considered a key Jubilee region, with only for four of the twenty elected and 10 nominated Members of County Assembly.

Governor Issa Timamy’s UDF has three, same as Farmers Party and Safina while TNA and New Democrats have two MCAs each.

United Party of Kenya (UPK) and Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) have one MCA each.

In the National Assembly Lamu is represented by Lamu West MP Ali Shariff Athman (UDF), Lamu East MP Kariuki Julius (KNC) and Women Representative Shakila Abdallah (Wiper Democratic Movement-Kenya) while in the senate it is represented by Senator Abu Chaiba of TNA.

It is worth noting that most of the parties in which the MCAs belong are affiliate members of Jubilee.

In the presidential election, 52 per cent of the residents voted for Raila Odinga while 40 per cent voted for Uhuru Kenyatta.

In addition to following up on development projects in the region, President Kenyatta’s visit is also seen as a key political trip aimed at winning over support for his administration and presidential bid in the run to the 2017 elections.

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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