NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the Ministry of Lands to survey 150 colonial villages in Nyeri and issue the residents with title deeds within three weeks.
Speaking during the Madaraka Day celebrations, the head of state directed Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi to ensure that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible.
“I want to tell you that here in Nyeri there is still a problem and it is something I have said and I do not want to repeat it again,” he said.
“This issue of nearly 150 colonial villages, I know the work is ongoing but it is not complete. I want and have directed the Lands Cabinet Secretary to complete the work within three weeks.”
He stated that this will ensure that the Jubilee government lives up to its promise to issue the residents of the colonial villages with titles.
“And you should make sure that the Kenyans have received those titles after those three weeks. I will be here after those three weeks so that they can tell me if they have received the titles,” he stated.
The villages were set up by the British colonial government to house thousands of locals who were displaced from their prime agricultural land by the settlers.
Close to half a century later, generations of the displaced continue to live on the small pieces of land whose ownership they cannot prove.
During the colonial era, at least 840 villages were set up by the British government across the Central region with Nyeri County hosting the highest number at 220.
Over the years most of the villages became major towns and as of 2013 when the county government was coming into office, only 116 villages with 6,583 households were in existence.
At least 983 acres in the county are occupied by villages and the process of demarcation has been slow and painful, as families try to grapple with pressure for more space.