Ministry renews vow to crack down on land grabbers

Ministry renews vow to crack down on land grabbers

 

Land grabbing is still one of the major challenges facing the Ministry of Lands, Assistant Director of Adjudication and Settlement, Nancy Wachira has said.

Wachira was speaking when 60 students from the Pupils Reward Scheme (PURES) visited Ardhi House to familiarize themselves on how the Ministry operates.

PURES, a mentorship program for top students is the brainchild of President Uhuru Kenyatta and first lady, Margaret Kenyatta.

Last year, the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) has raised concern over increased cases of land grabbing in the country.

“The level of impunity we are observing clearly demonstrates the existence of powerful cartels working with corrupt land officials at the Lands ministry. It is unfortunate that this issue has not been addressed by successive regimes and shall continue to wreak havoc unless it is urgently resolved,” said ISK Chairman Steve Ambani who was speaking at the time.

Last month, the government lifted a suspension it had slapped on renewal of land leases after an outcry from property developers. The moratorium was lifted through a gazette notice signed by Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi. Last December, the government stopped renewal of leases after widespread cases of grabbing and forceful acquisition of property from people whose leases were expiring.

Speaking during the students visit at Ardhi House, PURES Director, Mrs Florence Awori said that the initiative seeks to prepare young talents in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030 development blueprint.

The team was hosted by Wachira among other heads of department from the Ministry of Lands. The students asked various questions among them how the Ministry deals with issues of land grabbing, double allocation of land and the challenges the IT department experiences in managing cyber-crime.

The move came barely two weeks after Kirinyaga Jubilee Party governor candidate Anne Waiguru expressed outrage over the grabbing of land meant for research in the area.

“I’m aware that land set aside for the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) in Kimbimbi and Mathangauta villages in Mwea has been grabbed. Let me assure you that whether the grabbers have developed it or not, we will revoke any such illegal transactions,” she affirmed.

Ms Wachira has since acknowledged that land grabbing was one of the major challenges facing the Ministry that need urgent attention. She further explained processes through which the ministry solves Land conflicts.

Other heads of departments urged the students to work hard in school so as to be able to attain the required grades to pursue their career goals.

A senior Surveyor, Mr. Jonathan Chivatchi hosted the students at Ruaraka where he took them through practical aspects of surveying and mapping.

The students are drawn from leading Secondary Schools such Kenya High, Mangu, Mary Hill Girls, Chogoria, Maranda, Asumbi, Kapsabet High, Starehe, Alliance Boys and Alliance Girls.

 

 

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