, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – National Land Commission Chairman Mohammed Swazuri has assured that the commission will not interfere with any legitimately acquired land as it conducts a nationwide purge on dubious land titles.
In an interview with Capital FM News, Swazuri said the probe on land grabbing in Lamu and other parts of the country will only target illegally acquired parcels.
“We have started investigations, if we find that allocations were done legally the procedures have been given, if we find that the property was acquired irregularly the procedure will be the same. Everything possible will be done to ensure that those who have acquired their pieces legally are not defrauded (and) those ones who acquired land illegally are taken through the law,” he explained.
According to Swazuri, the commission has received half of the files of the 22 companies named by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week when he announced that over 70 percent of land in Lamu had been irregularly acquired.
The report from the Registrar of Companies revealed massive irregularities in the manner in which some of the 22 companies were registered with some of them having similar names and other shareholders owning huge chunks of land under different company names.
The government has since ordered for the revocation of title deeds of the 22 companies.
Acknowledging that the Lamu land scandal is a drop in the ocean, Swazuri explained that the commission has laid down an elaborate structure and strategy that will uncover other land irregularities across the country.
Land ownership in Kenya has for decades remained a thorny issue that seems not to get away. In 2007/2008, it was mentioned as one of the reasons that led to violence in parts of Kenya.
The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) singled out land as a sensitive issue that has to be resolved to earn Kenya its long lost glory of solid peace among the diverse Kenyan communities.
The Swazuri led commission intends to encapsulate all reports that have been produced on land in Kenya to get to the bottom of the crisis identified as an historical injustice.
“We are required to investigate historical injustices for the entire country. When you are investigating things like this, you need to go back and find out how they (lands) were allocated. We will look at all reports done before. E.g. the Ndungu land report, TJRC… all those,” he said.
But even as Kenya grapples to get to the root of land problems in the country amidst heated political temperatures and blame game, many Kenyans are worried about land ownership and the security of their titles.