The residents of four locations in Kilifi County Tuesday filed a petition at the County Assembly of Kilifi seeking to resolve a boundary dispute between them and the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC).
The residents of Chakama, Adu, Chamari and Bungale locations of Magarini Sub County want the assembly to intervene and have a report of the National Assembly on the matter implemented so that they can own the land also claimed by the ADC.
According to them, the ADC has encroached on community land by extending the boundaries of the Galana and Kulalu ranches through the four locations from Kisiki cha Mzungu in Chakama location to Adu, thus annexing thousands of hectares of community land and displacing the residents.
They said the impasse had resulted in the stoppage of land adjudication works that had been declared by the Ministry of Lands in conjunction with the County Government of Kilifi after the ADC claimed ownership of the land declared as an adjudication section.
In the petition signed by eight community leaders on behalf of the residents, the residents asked the assembly to intervene and push the County Government of Kilifi to liaise with the Cabinet Secretary for Lands to implement the report on petition number 004 of the National Assembly’s Committee on Lands.
“We do hereby pray that the report on petition number 004 of 2021 of the National Assembly be complied with without further delay as there is already a delay of over one year since the matter should have been resolved,” the petition says in part.
They prayed that the stalled adjudication process be resumed and continue to completion as per notices issued by the lands officer on diverse dates declaring the said adjudication sections and that the accompanying maps be published without undue delay.
Speaking in Malindi town after filing the petition to the county assembly, the residents’ representatives claimed that despite the ADC claiming ownership of the land, a number of private individuals have acquired title deeds within the said land and urged the county legislature to have the documents cancelled.
According to Mr. Jacob Kokani, immediate former Magarini Member of Parliament Michael Thoya Kingi petitioned Parliament on the matter and a report prepared by the Committee on Lands just before the end of the 12th Parliament, but it is yet to be implemented.
He claimed that ADC land occupies parts of Chakama ranch, and wondered why the corporation had laid claim on land from the border of Tsavo East National Park all the way to Adu.
“As a community, we want this matter resolved as fast as possible because through the county assembly since community land matters were devolved. If the land belongs to ADC, why did the parastatal allow schools and hospitals’ to be built in it,’’ he posed.
Ms Racheal Mwaro, a resident of Bungale location, called on the government to ensure locals get title deeds for the land that has already been adjudicated and revoke titels belonging to influential and wealthy individuals from other parts of the country.
“What is baffling us is that although the adjudication exercise has been stopped, some wealthy individuals have been allocated land and issued with title deeds. This shows that some government officers are colluding with tycoons to dispossess the locals of their ancestral land,” she said.
Institute of “Participatory Development – Kulamusana (IPD -K) Executive Director Raphael Mzungu Ngoma, said the problem was cutting across land owned by group ranches formed after some individuals convinced locals to form ranching companies.
“The new land laws recognize all group ranches as community land but noted that registering the same as community land had many legal bottlenecks. He said there was a danger of locals losing out since powerful individuals were eyeing the ranches.
“Although we are talking about land belonging to the Waata and Giriama communities, I urged the government to prioritize issue of doing away with ranches and registering the same as community land to save them from invasion by outsiders,” he said.