In Summary
  • The menace has kept investors at bay, in a wait-and-see stance even after buying land.

  • The invaders claim most of the land belonged to their forefathers and that they have a right to inherit it.

  • In some instances, lives have been lost after police moved in to evict the squatters.

Authorities are concerned about the re-emergence of land invasions in Kilifi County, which have scared away investors.

Coast Regional Police Commander Larry Kieng Monday vowed to deal with people who invade land, claiming ownership.

“We will deal with them as the security team,” said Mr Kieng.

Mavuni is one of the areas worst hit by the invasions, with cartels identifying land whose owners are absent and invading it.

A survey by Nation indicated that invasion of land by people purporting to be squatters had reached an alarming rate.

ABSENTEE LANDLORDS

Some locals have, for the last five years, formed a habit of invading undeveloped land or that owned by absentee landlords.

Some influential personalities have also been fronting locals to grab land, beach plots and prime properties, especially those owned by foreigners.

The menace has kept investors at bay, in a wait-and-see stance even after buying land.

The invaders claim most of the land belonged to their forefathers and that they have a right to inherit it.

In some instances, lives have been lost after police moved in to evict the squatters.

Interviews by the Nation yesterday indicated that the invaders have mainly been targeting undeveloped land for sub-division on the pretext of being squatters.

INVASIONS

For the past five years, Ihaleni community has been invading land privately owned by a firm, Kilifi Plantation, at Mavuni near Kilifi Town.

According to the group’s spokesman, Mr James Mramba, they have been pushing to get the land and their quest will not stop.

“I am leading a group of 5,000 squatters to get the 4,200 acres of land. We are aware that the lease for the parcels expired between 1987 and 2013. We expected the county to apply and get the land back to the community, but the land was advertised for sale. We will not allow that and that is why we invaded it,” he said.

The group was, however, chased away by police and there is now a court order barring any activity on the land.

His sentiments are shared by Mr Ali Khamis, the secretary-general of Kibarani Ward Progressive Association (Kiwapa), a group of about 3,500 families claiming ownership of 350 acres belonging to Kenya Cashewnuts Factory near Kilifi town.

RE-GROUPED

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