By DAVID MUCHUI
Over 120,000 residents of Meru and Tharaka Nithi Counties are expected to end the 50 year wait for title deeds with the Presidents two day tour of Meru County.
There are mixed reactions across the counties as residents wait to see who will receive the much valued document.
Late last year, the Ministry of Lands dispatched 183 adjudication officers to Meru and Tharaka Nithi to undertake a crash programme that would see an estimated 200,000 title deeds issued in the region.
Mr Joseph Thiaru, a resident of Kiguchwa in Tigania East who expects to benefit from the adjudication crash programme said they had given up hope until the government sent officers from Nairobi.
“We started the adjudication process in 1968. Our grandparents died and our fathers have long passed on yet we have not got the title deeds. We have severally come close to receiving the documents but everything comes to a stop. We are glad that the government has heard our cry,” Mr Thiauru said.
According to Meru County executive in charge of Lands and housing Martin Bikuri, the issuance of title deeds is a major milestone for the residents.
“Many people have been held back on development due to lack of title deeds. The issue had led to rise of social evils due to increasing population where family conflicts had become the order of the day. The coming of the president this weekend is a reprieve to many,” Mr Bikuri said.
He said that the rapid results initiative undertaken by the national and county governments is working on 29 adjudication sections.
“The officers managed to conclude the process in 14 adjudication sections. We expect to declare seven new adjudication sections in two weeks to ensure all residents get title deeds. We are expecting 100,699 title deeds from the records forwarded to Nairobi,” he said.
According to Igembe North MP Joseph M’Eruaki, the Nyambene region that has been synonymous with land conflicts and assault cases related to land is the major beneficiary of the title deeds.
“We can’t wait to receive the title deeds because many people will rest from many years of waiting. Our region has lagged behind in development due to lack of title deeds. Residents of areas like Mutuati in Igembe North will be seeing the document for the first time,” Mr M’Eruaki said.
He said that the President will issue a total of 120,052 title deeds in Meru and Tharaka Nithi with Tigania West Sub-county getting the biggest number of 26,000 title deeds.
Mr M’Eruaki said that another 335, 190 title deeds are at various levels of preparation and more residents are expected to benefit.
Other Sub counties expected to receive title deeds include Buuri 5,132, South Imenti 1,267, Igembe Central 17,417, Igembe North 11,600, Igembe South, 3, 161, Tigania East 14,609, Maara 11,777, Chuka 14,093 and Tharaka 10,323.
Mr Bikuri said that Meru leaders are banking on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to address boundary disputes between Meru, Isiolo and Tharaka Nithi as well as protection of public land from grabbers.
Up to last year the unregistered land in Meru was close to 40 percent of the total land area which is about 2,064,000 hectares.