By Lucy Njeri
Being installed as the wealthiest county in the country in 2013, Kajiado is also tagged alongside regions with the highest prevalence rate on matters of land fraud. The county has experienced cases of land grabbing, double allocation of allotment letters, and the consequent closure of the land offices.
In this line, the county unveiled a new generation of allotment letters with extra security features to curb land fraud cases. At the launch, Kajiado county governor Joseph Ole Lenku revealed that 12,657 plot owners acquired the new and authenticated documents after a one-year-long validation process.
As debated by the Alternative Justice System committee chaired by the County’s CECM on lands Hamilton Parseina, the docile nature of the Maasai community, who inhabit close to 70% of the land terrain, creates room for frauds to liaise with crooked officials within the lands department to falsely and wrongfully appropriate land to themselves through proxies.
A particular case attracted public attention where a group of investors had merged to pull funds in a bid to purchase a parcel of land in the Shoreline area of Kitengela Sub-county.
Headed by the incumbent chair of secondary and tertiary education teachers union KUPPET, Mr Maina Mbundi, the investors were duped into purchasing a parcel already sold to another group of investors.
Mr Maina observes that, even though they had undergone the standard procedure of fact-finding and the due process of ensuring that the land was legitimate, they still fell prey to dubious acts accentuated by cartels within the sector.
In concordance with unverified allegations, the green card installed into the Geographical Information System can be manually stalled for a while, ensuring that the data installed reverts to default which then dupes most buyers to believe the parcels are still being held by their initial holders.
After the hoodwink, the system recovers its normalcy, updating the average data thereof.
Cases of the exact nature have been reported in the vast county over the past, precipitating the need for dire action taken against perennial larceny taking place while the public glares.
In the 2015 Orkiramatiany group ranch in Kajiado West constituency, members took to the streets accusing the county government of malice after registration documents for the group ranch went missing.
After the subdivision of land in the then Elang’ata Wuas group ranch still within Kajiado West constituency, most of the impoverished members of the farm tried a follow-up to find why they were never allocated with the land.
They later realised they had been manually removed from the list of members slated to receive parcels before subdivision.
Most of them, including the disabled, resorted to rather existing than living within the demarcated ranch as squatters.
It beats logic that Kajiado, a county that emerged as the first to install the GIS system to digitise lands documents in 2014, still engages in the closure of offices in the lands department. Notably, in areas like Ngong, the lands registry was indefinitely closed in 2020 for abetting fraudulent acts.
Image: Kajiado governor Joseph Ole Lenku unveiling the online land management system. Source: Kajiado.go.ke.
This story was produced by Bus Radio in partnership with Code for Africa, Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET) and the Catholic Media Council with support from the German Cooperation as a part of the Our County Our Responsibility project.