Se­nate to launch in­quiry into Mwea Trust Lands row, sum­mons Swazuri over role

Team com­pris­ing four com­mit­tees to tour dis­puted land, lis­ten to the af­fected persons and come up with a re­port top be tabled in the House

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Parliament - SA­MUEL KISIKA @KisikaSam

National Lands Com­mis­sion chair­man Muham­mad Swazuri is ex­pected be­fore a joint Se­nate team over un­law­ful de­mar­ca­tion and is­suance of ti­tle deeds in the dis­puted 54,000-acre Mwea Trust Lands.

On Tues­day last week, Swazuri said the dis­pute pend­ing in court over the Mwea Set­tle­ment Scheme would not pre­vent is­suance of ti­tle deeds. Speak­ing in Embu, he said the ti­tle deeds of more than 7,232 ben­e­fi­cia­ries will be is­sued, de­spite the case filed by the Kirinyaga county gov­ern­ment.

Kirinyaga county claims it has ob­tained an or­der re­strain­ing the gov­ern­ment from is­su­ing ti­tle deeds to those who have al­ready been al­lo­cated the land. Se­na­tor Daniel Karaba sought Se­nate in­ter­ven­tion in what he called “Embu county gov­ern­ment’s uni­lat­eral move to sub­di­vide the land and is­sue ti­tles”.

The probe team in­cludes the Ses­sional Com­mit­tee on Im­ple­men­ta­tion, the Com­mit­tee on Land and Nat­u­ral Re­sources, the Com­mit­tee on National Se­cu­rity and For­eign Relations, and the Com­mit­tee on Le­gal Af­fairs and Hu­man Rights.

They will launch an in­quiry into the mat­ter and ta­ble their re­port. “This mat­ter is very im­por­tant to the peo­ple of Kirinyaga. Ten­sion is very high and it is im­por­tant some­thing is done ur­gently to pre­vent the sit­u­a­tion from es­ca­lat­ing,” Karaba said. He said the dis­puted land orig­i­nally be­longed to Kirinyaga res­i­dents but was “un­law- fully hived off” to Embu county.

Karaba said the ti­tles is­sued are il­le­gal be­cause there is a court or­der and Se­nate di­rec­tive stop­ping Embu from de­mar­cat­ing and al­lot­ting the land. A boundary dis­pute is the main cause of con­flict be­tween the two coun­ties, par­tic­u­larly be­tween the nine Kirinyaga clans and the Mbeere and Kamba com­mu­ni­ties in Embu.

“The chair­man [Swazuri] should ex­plain why in­stead of ad­dress­ing the is­sue of his­tor­i­cal land in­jus­tices meted out to the peo­ple of Kirinyaga with re­gard to the Mwea Trust Lands, his com­mis­sion is par­tic­i­pat­ing in an ex­er­cise meant to achieve the ex­act op­po­site,” Karaba said.

Dur­ing the in­quiry, the com­mit­tees will tour the dis­puted land and lis­ten to the af­fected persons be­fore draft­ing its re­port for tabling.

‘A BOUNDARY DIS­PUTE IS THE MAIN CAUSE OF CON­FLICT BE­TWEEN THE TWO COUN­TIES’

/BRIAN SIMIYU

National Lands Com­mis­sion chair­man Muham­mad Swazuri at a meet­ing in Nairobi on Au­gust 9

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