Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kikuyus in Mpeketoni Have Titles, But....

Mpeketoni is a good example of well-utilised agricultural land. It breaks the continuous
"idle land that stretch from Malindi to Lamu."

By HENRY MWANGI
and MURUU TUVA
EXPRESS Writers

For the past three decades, the government has made efforts to reduce landlessness in various parts of Kenya.

Lake Kenyatta Settlement Scheme in Mpeketoni division, Lamu district, is one of the many settlement schemes initiated by the government under the then President Kenyatta.

An estimated 40,000 people live in this coastal area. Most of them are from the Kikuyu community. They have lived here for more than 30 years on a temporary basis. The government brought landless people from different parts of the country in 1972 following tribal clashes in Rift Valley and Mzee Kenyatta's turudi mashambani appeal.

Others are former employees of the Cotton Board of Kenya that had a big plantation in the area. They were left helpless after the board collapsed.

The settlers had 20 acres of land, which was later reduced to 10 owing to population pressure. They had an agreement with the Ministry of Lands and Settlement to pay Sh5,090 loaned to them at 6.5 per cent interest a year, a condition they could not meet due to lack of a government cash box at the division level.

It is alleged that corruption has interfered with loan payments, leading to some people losing large sums of money and others seeking assistance from the headquarters in Nairobi. Grace Gitu sought help from the headquarters but still receives letters requiring land rent payment even after acquiring a title deed.

Many farmers cannot trace their title deeds owing to lack of funds. This is worsened by poor market for their produce.

Illiteracy, poverty and poor communication has made Lake Kenyatta Settlement Scheme a haven for corrupt government officials.

Farmer Stephen Ng'ang'a Kariara says his land bill was Sh14,000 on December 2, 1999. He paid the money and received a letter certifying that he had cleared the bill. When he went to enquire about his title deed on October 1, 2000, he received another bill for Sh9,131, which he hesitated to pay and went back home. Three years later, the debt has increased to Sh10,375.44. He has never gone back to the local lands office.

When we visited the Land Adjudication and Settlement offices in Mpeketoni, we met officials Patrick Mbatia and Ngokonyo, who refused to comment. They hurriedly left on a government motorbike, leaving the office wide open.

On the other hand, lack of unity among the settlers led to collapse of the Lake Kenyatta Farmers Co-operative Society, which could have improved their marketing procedures.

GTZ has been a good donor, helping to construct roads, schools and the Lakwa water project.

Kariara is a land surveyor, but he lost his job after GTZ completed its operations in Mpeketoni. His plot bordered a forest that was later subdivided and allocated to other settlers. These are currently fighting with wild animals that threaten to destroy their crops.

Mpeketoni is a good example of well-utilised agricultural land. It breaks the continuous idle land that stretch from Malindi to Lamu.

3 comments:

sebertkamau said...

Mpeketoni division it is in Lake kenyatta settlement scheme not the other way round no tribal clashes in rift vally in 1972, did you get the job with kenyatv through backdoor?

sebertkamau said...

Mr H Mwangi and M Tuva its easy to say you dont know mpeketoni [a] Mpeketoni division is in Lake kenyattasettlement scheme not the orther way round [b]1972 there was no tribal clashes in rift valley it was after 1982 [c]people in mpeketoni had nothing with to do with kenyatta appeal it was Lamu people asked kenyatta for tingatinga, I am not sure how you guys got the job with kenyatv. [backdoor]for sure,

kariuki kiboi said...

So tinga tinga were the people

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Kibaki must be held responsible for the bloodshed. ECK has no excuse, they too can be charged for complicity to commit genocide. Those who are looking at the tribal hatred and murder might be naive to try to blame Raila, but the truth is Kibaki number 2, must be stopped by any means necessary. The signs are very clear, "A Tribal Dictatorship." Kenyans had no problem in the last election when Kibaki, a Kikuyu ran against Uhuru, another Kikuyu. It is time for Kikuyus to stand up and smell the chai. Kikuyus are the poorest and the most oppressed. Shoot to Kill has always been used against Kikuyus "Del Monte." The only matatus that must go to the police station for a strip search, are the ones going to Kikuyuland. There are more Kikuyus in prison than any other group. Kikuyus just like they rejected Uhuru and what he stood for, can reject Kibaki for trying to bring back the KANU type dictatorship. Raila and Luos should also be very careful when making statements about the election. Kenyans did not vote for Raila the Luo; Kenyans voted for Raila the ODM nominee.