Approximately 3,000 individuals residing in the Jipe region of Taveta Constituency, Taita Taveta County, are seeking confirmation from Mama Ngina Kenyatta regarding the transfer of 1,062.3 hectares of land that she recently sued the government for.
Residents voiced their concerns to the media on Friday, contending that both Mama Ngina and former Taveta MP Basil Criticos erred by taking legal action against the government to acquire the title deed for the land in Taita Taveta County. The pair claimed co-ownership of the land. Consequently, the residents fear potential eviction due to the lawsuit against the state. A resident, acting as spokesperson, declared, “I possess the evidence right here – Mama Ngina Kenyatta and Basil Criticos personally granted this land on March 18, 1997. Their signatures can be found here.”
Additionally, the spokesperson asserted that the former first lady made a plea for the land to be distributed among the locals. Another resident voiced his concern, saying that those who have taken legal measures, like Mama Ngina Kenyatta and Basil Criticos, are making them apprehensive. Albert Kanzoi, one of the original occupants of the Jipe area, implored all parties involved in the dispute to seek counsel from the elders.
The residents also pleaded with the government to grant them title deeds to protect them from the danger of eviction. Kanzoi, one of the few remaining residents who migrated from Tanganyika, emphasized that the majority of people in the area were born there. MP John Okano Bwire emphasized the importance of the government addressing the concerns of the informal settlers and officially allocating the land to them. Bwire, who is also a lawyer, expressed his intention to convey this message to the President.
The evidence indicates that the land was initially given up by the ex-first lady and Basil, but it remains unclear if the inhabitants will be implicated in the legal proceedings. Mama Ngina and Basil Criticos, who are being accused in this case, initiated legal action in December 2023, asserting their right to the 1062.3 hectares of land. They took legal action against the Chief Lands Registrar and the Attorney General, alleging that they had not received the land title as promised.