People Daily

Powerful people allocated Mwea land, say elders

Githinji Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe

Senior politicians and government officials are among the beneficiaries of the controversial 48,000 acres of Mwea Trust Land.

A row has erupted between Kirinyaga and Embu counties over the ownership of the land. Kirinyaga Council of Elders secretary general Mugo Kabeu said highly influential people have been allocated huge chunks of land in the disputed scheme and vowed to fight until the allocations are revoked.

Speaking at Gategi Shopping Centre during a public meeting, Kabeu condemned the attack on residents by armed police officers last week saying they are ready to die fighting for their land.

“Most people who have been living here have been left out, while some politically-correct people have been allocated more than 1,000 acres of land,” he said.

The more than 2,000 elders warned that issuance of title deeds will fuel more chaos if no action is taken to restrict Embu county from allocating the land.

He noted that records at Land ministry clearly show that the controversial land belongs to Kirinyaga county people who have been living in the area for more than 50 years, adding that already the National Land Commission (NLC) has cancelled title deeds issued to some individuals.

On Monday, the High Court issued another order restraining Embu county government, its agents or representative from surveying, beaconing and issuing title deeds in relation to the controversial land.

The clan members moved to court after seven people were shot and seriously injured by armed police officers after violence broke out on the disputed land last week. Kabeu claimed Embu county has started sub-dividing and allocating the disputed land to its people which is a violation of the court order.

The clan members urged the National government to intervene and stop any land transactions until the dispute is amicably resolved. Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has already dismissed the title deeds issued in respect of the Mwea Settlement Scheme saying due process was not followed.

She said the process of resolving the ownership and allocation tussle should be inclusive, people-centered and the identification of beneficiaries must be transparent and fair. She dismissed the ongoing resettlement as illegal and urged Interior ministry and National Land Commission to intervene.

Waiguru, said the county had warned last week that the current forcible survey and allocation exercise overseen by security forces amid resistance from residents is casing tensions.

The government through ministry of Interior and Land has already suspendedn any surveying and issuance of title deeds untill investigation is carried to ascertain the ownership dispute between Kirinyaga and Embu county.

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