Section of Malindi residents protest grabbing of riparian land

Land grabbing of sea riparian land in Malindi town, Kilifi County has sparked uproar from residents and leaders who have vowed to protect it at all costs.

Land grabbers have been eyeing land left behind after the Indian Ocean waters receded and shockingly, they have even obtained title deeds for the riparian land.

The move has also seen other investors being affected since the grabbers are now forcing access roads to the grabbed portions through people’s properties.

Timothy Mwambogo said that the riparian land has been earmarked for amusement parks in programs being implemented by the Kilifi County government and the World Bank and that no one should purport to have a title deed on such parcels of land.

“Which law allows someone to trespass on another person’s land without the involvement of the authorities? Land grabbing should not be allowed in Malindi and investors should not be harassed by the grabbers,” he said.

He added that harassment of investors was scaring away the investors hence leading to job losses and now wants the County government and the national government to intervene.

“Last year or last year but one it was announced that the sea shore from Buntuani to Sabaki estuary there was a big project to be done in conjunction with the world bank to set up recreational facilities along the riparian land, we are surprised after the announcement some individuals have produced documents so as to sabotage the project until they are compensated,” he said.

He said that there was no land along the seafront as the title deeds of the properties from Eden Rock to Golf course were up to the high-water mark and even if the sea receded the parcels still remain to belong to the original owners.

The former councillor called on the Commissioner of Lands, Surveyors, Physical planning officers to come clear and explain how the individuals managed to obtain titles from land that receded from the sea.

“We know what is going on in the Lands Ministry in Kenya, the commissioner may not be involved but there are cartels who are behind such dubious acts.

He wondered how land meant to be turned to recreational facilities had now been taken over by individuals with titles which are not genuine.

He said that the most notorious area was the stretch between the Malindi Casino all the way to the Sabaki River estuary.

“The government is sleeping on the job and title deeds are not allowed to be issued to parcels of land on the high water mark and people should not think that lands formed when the Ocean recedes are not to be owned by anyone,” he added.

Magarini MP Harry Kombe said that it was shocking that the Ministry of Lands could issue title deeds on riparian land which is against the law.

“There are officers from the Ministry of Land who are corrupt and they are forging documents using signatures of retired officers to issue illegal title deeds to unsuspecting people and land grabbers,” he said.

He added that he will raise the matter in the floor of Parliament so that the government can explain under which circumstances individuals were being allocated riparian lands illegally.

“They even broke down someone’s wall to force a road through to their grabbed property and this is not the first incident. I will raise the matter in parliament so that we solve these issues,” he said.

He said a lot has happened in the Lands Ministry which had contributed to injustices to the point of people even being able to sell private land.

“Normally they use retired officials’ signatures or forge signatures of retired people to produce fake documents,” he said.

Kombe said that now that the county and national government has committed themselves to set up the recreational facilities along the Bunthuani to Sabaki estuary but some tycoons have begun invading private land to open access roads.

The Kilifi County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Lands, Physical Planning, Housing and Urban Development Jane Maiki Kamto said that she will not allow riparian land to be invaded by land grabbers and that investors should have confidence that the County government will protect them.

“Those are illegal title deeds because they are issued without following due process and riparian land belongs to the government,” she said.

Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro cautioned the land grabbers that their days were numbered and ordered his officers to halt issuing any construction permits along the Vasco Da Gama- Sabaki Estuary beach line.

“Such properties are not owned by individuals and it is the County government that will issue permits for temporary structures but not title deeds and we will not approve plans on such lands and for those walls that were pulled down, it is only the county that can issue such directives under the law,” he said.

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