Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi has asked the county’s residents to stop the habit of wanton sale of land in order to resolve the squatter menace in the county.
He lamented that some residents had become professional squatters as they sell their land immediately after getting ownership documents and become squatters in other lands where they expect the government to settle them.
Mr. Kingi urged the residents to use their documents to secure loans or lease their land instead of selling it.
He was speaking at Chumani Social Hall in Matsangoni Ward, Kilifi North Sub County where he issued 274 land allotment letters to people at the Chumani Trading Centre and two educational institutions, – Chumani Primary and Secondary Schools.
“We do not want to distribute such documents to you and then after two weeks we get information that half the land whose documents we have issued has been sold, because when you sell your land, you must vacate, and this escalates the problem of landlessness” he said.
He said both the national and county governments were spending a lot of money in surveying and adjudicating land to settle people and urged the beneficiaries to appreciate the government efforts by keeping the land for themselves and future generations.
“If you are financially hard stressed, do not sell the land, but instead lease it for a period of time. By doing so, you will have gotten the money and retained the land, because it is your inheritance and that of your offspring,” he said.
Similar sentiments were made by Kilifi County Executive Committee Member for Land Maureen Mwangovya, who also called on land control boards in the county to be vigilant and ensure that those who acquire land do not sell it without following due process.
Mrs. Mwangovya rebuked the Kilifi North Land Control Board which he said had allowed the sale of most pieces of land in Tezo area at extremely low prices.
“We encourage you to lease the land if you are financially pressed, but if you must sell, then visit our offices to get the proper value of your land,” she said.
She told the residents that land ownership documents were important to them and their families and that selling land without following due process was the cause of many family feuds.
Elsewhere, Institute of Participatory Development (IPD) Executive Director Raphael Mzungu Ngoma, said many people were selling their land immediately after getting ownership documents due to lack of awareness.
He called on the County Government of Kilifi to partner with his organization in conducting land awareness clinics across the county in order to arrest the menace that has led to huge chunks of land being sold at as low as Sh2,000 per acre, especially in Magarini constituency.
The national and county governments have in recent years intensified land adjudication in many parts of the county where thousands of people have been settled, but many have sold their land at throwaway prices, thus negating the efforts made toward tackling the squatter menace.