, NAIROBI Kenya, Aug 19 – Human rights groups have appealed to the government to involve the National Land Commission in the issuance of 60,000 title deeds set to be given out at the coast.
Led by Muslim for Human Rights group, they warned that the process might be hijacked by a rival political group opposed to the project.
Already the Cabinet has approved the issuance of 60,000 title deeds to the residents by the end of this month in a move to address the squatter problem in the region.
“We are pleading with the government to avoid politicising the land issue in Mombasa. It’s a contentious matter in Coast. We would not want to be issued with title deeds that cannot even be used to borrow a loan in the bank, we don’t want politics in coast we want solutions!” they said in a statement.
The former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has opposed the move saying it is meant to deceive Coast residents into believing the Jubilee government has their interests at heart.
On the controversial matter, earlier on the Deputy President William Ruto said the Jubilee government will completely resolve the land problem at the Coast in its first term in office through the issuance of title deeds which would eradicate the squatter problem.
Addressing the residents on August 11, Ruto noted that the land problem in the Coast region was a campaign issue in the last general election and could have contributed to Jubilee’s poor performance in the area but he assured area residents that the government is determined to ensure its resolution.
“We have instructed the Ministry of Lands to issue title deeds to those whose land ownership is uncontested and we plan on issuing 1,000 this year alone so you can get down to business,” he said.
The Deputy President said the government is committed to economically empowering coastal communities through the title deeds which they can use as collateral when applying for business loans.
Ruto said the setting up of the Jubilee government’s pilot irrigation project at the Coast was proof of this commitment to win the confidence of coastal residents – a section of whom, through the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) – had called for the secession of the coastal region from the rest of Kenya.
“We would not want this issue to recur ever again, giving an excuse to some people to engage in criminal activities in the name of championing for their land rights,” Ruto said during the commissioning of a water project in Kinango constituency.
A section of the coast leaders have committed to work with the government to resolve the land issue in the region despite their political affiliation.