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Kilifi residents blame leaders over land grabbing

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[Locals protesting land grabbing at Madzimbani-Mitangoni, Kilifi County. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

Over 50,000 residents living in Madzimbani-Mitangoni settlement scheme, Mariakani, Kilifi county want Kilifi Governor Amason Jeffa Kingi to steer clear from a long standing land dispute that has been raging for more than a decade.

The residents said they are on their own battling with people who want to take away land they have lived on for decades and accused Kingi for not being sincere in his approach to the issue at hand.

At stake is a large swathe of land covering some 7,100 acres of land where there are several developments including homesteads, schools, churches, mosques, farms and community graveyards straddling through a section of the Mombasa- Nairobi highway.

67 year old Karisa Birya said that since 2014, they have been battling to have control of individual parcels of land on the disputed plot which records show to belong to one Tsagwa Ngala, deceased.

” We know corrupt land officials have been working with people high up in the hierachy to defraud us of our land. We have an active case at the Appeals Court. However, we were taken aback when Kingi met with some locals and told them to drop the land case,” Birya alleged.

He said that they have lived in the area since being born and will not move an inch to pave way for what he termed a well orchestrated scheme to deny them land they own.

”How on earth can this vast land belong to one individual who in the first place remains unknown to us. We only saw his name crop up when we went to court,” he said.

In July of 2019, Lands Ministry Principal Secretary, Dr Nicholas Muraguri wrote to the then Kilifi Lands Adjudication and Settlement Officer, Mary Muteti on the authenticity of a title deed for the vast land in the name of Tsagwa Ngala.

Muraguri had in the letter dated July 4th, 2019 indicated that the issuance of the title deed in the name of the said allotee had led to serious boundary disputes involving various clans claiming their land was included in the mother title.

Corruption

Youth leader, Mr Ndaro Zuma Rimba disputed the legality of the title deed saying that it was as if the person under whom the title held some senior position in the community.

”We wonder how Tsagwa acquired such huge tracts of land. Was he a King of sorts or what?” posed Rimba.

He added that in the Mijikenda tradition, one is buried on land that belongs to him or his community.

”This is not the case with Tsagwa. His family buried far away from Mariakani. This raises suspicion that he was just used by grabbers keen to get access to this prime land,” he said.