NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9- Ministry of Lands and National Lands Commission (NLC) failed to establish rightful owners of a disputed 419 acres piece of land in Kiambu county.
The land is claimed by five different groups including Kenya Forest Service following a gazette notice on 1 March this year by National Land Commission declaring that Kamiti Anmer Development Welfare Group as the rightful owners.
While appearing before the National Assembly Lands Committee, Lands CAS Gideon Mung’aro said that the disputed land was surveyed in 1954 and declared to be a Central Forest in 1964.
Mung’aro further told the session chaired by Soy MP Caleb Kositany that the defunct Kiambu County Council interfered with the process and instead of allocating the land to the squatters, allocated it to rich and influential people.
“Kamiti Forest is yet to be degazetted for any allocation to be valid. If LR No. 8390 Kamiti Anmer is procedurally de-gazetted as provided for under Section 34 of the Forest Conservation and Management Act, 2016, the allotments and titles issued to persons occupying the land can be regularized,” Mung’aro said.
The committee members were however not satisfied with Mung’aro’s answer saying his response contradicted that of the NLC who had earlier told the committee that the commission issued a notice based on the verdict that the title deeds held by Kamiti Anmer Development Association were valid.
“You have admitted that the land may have been allocated to rich and influential people; who are these people because that is contrary to NLC’s stand that the land legally belongs to Kamiti Anmer. Could you provide us with the list of those influential people? It is certainly clear that both the ministry and NLC do not know the owners of this land,” said Kositany.
The commission had also directed the Kenya Forest Service to degazette the same land thus implying that it was still a state forest contradicting their earlier statement.
“I think both the NLC and the Ministry’s CAS are not fully informed about this matter and it would be nice if we allowed them to get information and come up with a comprehensive report Mr. Chair. We need to be sure who this land belongs to and whether it ias already been degazetted or not,” said Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani.
The groups include Kamiti Forests Squatters Association (KAFSA), Muungano wa Kamiti Group, Kamiti Anmer Development Welfare Group (KADWG), Kenya Forest Service and Kamiti Development Association (KADA).
Of the 419 acres, KANU regime directed that 300-acres be saved and be allocated to the squatters and landless in the area in 1994.
The complaint was forwarded to the committee by Kamiti Squatters Association which indicated that it comprised of former labourers who worked in coffee plantations within Kamiti area and persons who had been internally displaced from Rift Valley due to the post 1992 clashes.
The displaced persons were first settled in Kirigiti Stadium in Kiambu.