Siaya Governor James Orengo has called for the cancellation of a lease agreement that bequeathed parts of Yala Swamp to a private investor.
Orengo has asked the government and the National Lands Commission to take a leading role in the cancellation of a lease agreement that saw a huge chunk of the Yala Swamp bequeathed to a private investor for 66 years.
According to Orengo, both the government and the National Lands Commission erred when leasing out the land while excluding the Siaya County Government who are the trustees.
The governor said that he had personally met the chairman of the commission who agreed with him that indeed it was a mistake to exclude the devolved unit that holds the title of the wetland in trust on behalf of the local communities.
Orengo was speaking at Audrey Golf Resort hotel in Siaya during the launch of the county physical and land use development plan.
“Any community land is vested in the county governments for the benefit of the communities living in the county,” said Governor Orengo adding “that is why, originally, the Yala delta lease was granted to Dominion Farms Limited by the then two county councils of Siaya and Bondo and when the counties came into being, the lease is now in the county government”.
He said that the December 2022 lease that was executed by NLC and the national government to the exclusion of the county government of Siaya is illegal and must be reversed.
“There is no way it can be leased without participation of its trustees,” said Orengo.
Orengo further accused the national government and NLC of denying his county more than sh. 70 million in revenue accrued from the lease, adding that this impacted the county’s source revenue kitty negatively.
He further accused the government and the investor of failing to put the local community’s interest first while leasing out the land, adding that instead of setting aside arable land to the locals, it allocated land deep inside the wetland that could not be reclaimed manually.
The governor hailed the land use plan development that will guide development in the next decade, adding that his government will ensure its implementation.