120,000 title deeds for Meru and Tharaka Nithi

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.

ENDS…

Meru, Isiolo Governors advised to keep off boundary issues

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LDGI Executive Director Mwenda Makathimo. He is a renowned Land economics expert.

LDGI Executive Director Mwenda Makathimo. He is a renowned Land economics expert.

By DAVID MUCHUI

Meru and Isiolo County Governors Peter Munya and Godana Doyo have been urged to follow the law in addressing boundary disputes between the two counties.

Recently, the two governors clashed after Meru Governor Peter Munya removed Cess collection barriers belonging to Isiolo County which he said were placed in Meru leading to retaliatory destruction of Meru Cess points by youths from Isiolo.

Speaking during a Meru leaders’ forum on land matters at Thiiri Centre, Land Development and Governance Institute (LDGI) Executive Director Mwenda Makathimo said that the Meru-Isiolo border is clearly defined and documented hence the dispute has no basis.

“There is no dispute between the Meru and Isiolo people because they have coexisted and worked together for long. The dispute is between the two governors. The Meru Isiolo boundary has never been changed even after it was gazette in 1992 following the addition of new districts. The documents are with the Office of the president and director of Survey,” Makathimo said.

He noted that having worked as a commissioner in the Interim independent boundaries review commission (IIBRC), he is aware that all boundaries were retained as per the 1992 gazette notice and adopted in the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

Mr Makathimo said that governors have no mandate in interfering with boundary issues hence the two county chiefs should leave the matter to relevant government bodies.

“The two counties should not be fighting over Cess collection points. There should be joint plans on how the two counties can benefit from the LAPPSET and the Isiolo resort city rather than fueling conflicts among the people,” he advised.

The land economics expert cited article 188 of the Constitution of Kenya which directs that a County boundary can only be altered through an independent commission formed by parliament whose recommendations must win support of two thirds of National Assembly and the Senate.

“As at now not the IEBC nor the National Land Commission or any government body can initiate a boundary change until the parliament forms an independent commission. It is a long process hence the need to respect the 1992 boundaries. Governors have no duty on changing boundaries,” remarked Makathimo.

The LDGI Director further advised county governments to follow the law when implementing any developments on community land to avert stirring disputes among affected communities.

“If there is any development on community land the County government must respect Article 63, sub article 4 must be respected. It requires the County to keep the land in trust of the community until a law by parliament is provided to guide its use. Community rights over resources must be respected,” he said

He called for involvement of the communities so as to foster development in areas where land is communal.

Munya hits out at Senate over judiciary debate

By DAVID MUCHUI

Meru Governor Peter Munya has told off senate over a recent debate where Senators censored the judiciary over interfering with House business.
Speaking after opening Giika Dispensary in Igembe North Sub County, called on the Senate to stop fighting with the Judiciary as each arm of government is independent.
“The Judiciary is there to act as the arbitrator even when there are differences between the national and county governments. The Judiciary is doing its work by issuing temporary orders on governors’ summons. The censorship debate aimed at judges will lead this country to lawlessness,” Munya said.
He further said that Governors cannot attend Senate Committee summons arguing that only county accounting officers can answer questions.
“Those in the Senate were elected like me. They have no power to summon fellow elected leaders for grilling. I can only heed to Senators’ calls if it is a meeting but not a summon,” he said.
Munya accused Senators of usurping the responsibilities of County assemblies in oversight of the county government executive.
The Senate has questioned the Judiciary’s mandate in issuing injunctions on the Senate especially on governors’ summons.

TA Chairman supports MCAs’ Ward offices

By DAVID MUCHUI

The Transition Authority (TA) has finally agreed that Members of County Assembly (MCA) can operate offices at their Wards at the expense of the taxpayer.

Transition Authority Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi said that the TA has been persuaded that MCAs require offices to efficiently perform their representation and oversight roles.

Speaking in Meru town after a consultative meeting with Meru Deputy Governor Raphael Muriungi, Deputy Speaker Gideon Kimathi, Meru County Assembly Clerk Justus Arithi, and Meru County TA officer, Wamwangi however said there is need for intensive consultations to establish a win-win situation.

“TA has done a study and came to a conclusion that it is important for MCAs to have offices. This will stop the flow of people into their homes as they seek assistance. We are in consultations with other government agencies agree on staffing of the Ward offices,” Wamwangi said.

He said that TA will involve the salaries and remuneration commission (SRC), Public service Commission (PSC), Constitution implementation Commission (CIC), Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) and the Controller of Budget to ensure the MCAs needs are met within the law.

“It is good for the MCAs to have offices but we have to come up with a good way of handling it. There is no need to keep fighting over the matter” he said

Mr Wamwangi further disputed feelings that the TA was opposed to the establishment of Ward development funds in the Counties but that the fund should not be controlled by MCAs.

“We have never had objections to the Counties executive introducing ward development fund. The fund is welcome because it is in the spirit of devolution of resources and will ensure equity in development. What we wanted is set the correct practices in running of such funds to allow MCAs do what they are required by law,” he said.

The TA Chairman noted that MCAs will only appear in Ward development committees alongside the executive by virtue of being representatives of the electorate.

He said MCAs should concentrate on making sound legislations and oversight development in the counties.

Wamwangi said the Authority is in the process of costing both national and county governments functions to advise the treasury on revenue allocation.

“We are also doing function analysis to establish the cost of running each function. Once this is done we will establish how much revenue should be allocated to Counties and national government. We are also doing staff rationalization to address imbalances in County workforce,” he remarked.

Meru County Assembly Deputy Speaker Gideon Kimathi lauded the TA’s move to support Ward offices and the Ward development saying the move is long overdue.

“We have been operating offices but the TA had branded them illegal establishments. We are happy that MCAs will have a place to meet the electorate. It is good that TA has seen sense in having Ward offices,” Kimathi said.

Transition authority has been at loggerheads with MCAs in the country over its stance on Ward offices and Ward development fund.

Tigania West CDF to give loans to 25 students annually

By DAVID MUCHUI
Tigania Constituency Development fund (CDF) has partnered with Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to pay school fees for 25 students pursuing law, medical, engineering, pilot among other courses every year.

According to Tigania West MP, Sh5 million will be set aside from the CDF bursary kitty annually to fund the education of five students from every ward in the constituency.

“We will provide school fees for bright and needy students who want to become lawyers, doctors, engineers, pilots or locomotive drivers. The money will be refundable to HELB after the beneficiaries are employed.

The courses are very competitive hence we expect the youths to get jobs immediately after training enabling them to repay the loans,” Karithi said.

He said that the move is geared towards improving education standards in the constituency as well as increasing the number of the much needed professionals in the area.

Karithi further directed that the process of identifying students to get CDF bursaries be devolved to location level as opposed to the current system where it is done at constituency level.

“We want the bursary committees to go to the location level and identify the needy and bright pupils and students with the help of residents. We want to make the process transparent and free of corruption and collusion. We want the CDF money to benefit the deserving children,” the MP said.

He noted that the practice of sharing CDF bursaries in the office away from reality has been questioned by constituents who are not aware of the criteria of bursary allocation.

The Tigania West MP urged residents to remain vigilant in monitoring spending of public funds and raise alarm in the event of misappropriation of public funds.

He was speaking at Ngundune market after distributing CDF cheques worth 33million to various development projects in Athwana and Akithii wards.

Huduma centre to be established in Meru

By DAVID MUCHUI

Meru County residents are set to enjoy Huduma Centers services in the next three months after Devolution and planning CS Anne Waiguru promised to launch the facility in Meru town recently.

She was speaking at Meru university of science and technology when she opened the Meru Professionals Association conference dubbed unity for development.

Waiguru noted that 14 Huduma Centres have been opened countrywide adding that Meru is set to benefit with the 15th centre.

“About 30 government services are being offered in the Huduma centres. Meru is in the second phase of the Huduma centre establishment and we will open one in Meru town in three to four months time,” Waiguru said.

She further said that the Ministry is negotiating with MPs to establish CDF funded Huduma centers in the constituencies to ease accessibility of government services.

“The Huduma Centres will reduce congestion in government offices and increase efficiency on service delivery. We are ready to provide the staff for Constituency Huduma centres,” she said.

The center is expected to serve residents of upper Eastern region. The nearest Huduna Center has already been established in Embu.
ENDS…

Imenti South education staeholders urge Sub Counties to improve standards

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By DAVID MUCHUI
Kathingiri Boarding Headteacher Micheni Ragwa (R), Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi (2nd R), Priscilla Murungi (Centre), KFS Chairman Peter Kirigua (2nd L) and Imenti South DEO David Ntuara (L) show off the Best Public Primary School trophy given to the school for leading nationally for six years running.

Kathingiri Boarding Headteacher Micheni Ragwa (R), Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi (2nd R), Priscilla Murungi (Centre), KFS Chairman Peter Kirigua (2nd L) and Imenti South DEO David Ntuara (L) show off the Best Public Primary School trophy given to the school for leading nationally for six years running.

Education stakeholders in Imenti South have called for concerted efforts to uplift education standards in the Meru County.

Speaking during a two day education strategic meeting at Igoji Teachers College, the School heads, education officials, political leaders and other stakeholders lamented that other parts of the County have been pulling down performance in national rankings.

Imenti South MP Kathuri Murungi who had convened the forum said that despite Imenti South Sub County being ranked well in national exams and other academic assessments, the county has remained in the bottom.

“Imenti South has been ranked top in national exams but the county is always ranked poorly. We were ranked position four nationally in a recent survey on literacy and arithmetics. I am sure if we were ranked as a County we would be tailing,” Kathuri said.

He said there is need for all leaders in the County to move with speed and change the trend adding that: “We do not want to be ashamed by the County performance yet we have done our best. Other Sub counties are tainting our performance.”

Kathuri said that the Meru Parliamentary Group has resolved to play its part in ensuring that education standards improve.

“We met recently with other MPs and discussed the education standards at length. As politicians we will do everything to support education. All MPs have vowed to ensure that their Constituencies catch up with Imenti South,” said Kathuri.

Expressing similar sentiments, Meru County Women Representative Florence Kajuju said that Imenti South has maintained an upward trend in education hence other Sub counties need to improve standards.

“We have always heard of South Imenti when it comes to national ranking. It is true that other parts of the County have been pulling down rankings of the County. I will do whatever it takes to ensure we improve our education,” Kajuju said.

She said that the political leaders are engaging the Cabinet Secretary for Education to ensure all schools with infrastructural challenges get a facelift.

“We have engaged the Education CS Prof Jacob Kaimenyi and he has promised to work with us in improving education. We want to ensure that all schools have the necessary facilities so that when we demand results there will be no scapegoats,” she said.


Makarena to chair ODM, unite Meru warring factions

Mike Mutembei 'Makarena' (R) consults with Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka during a recent visit to Meru. PHOTO/Ken Kimanthi/

Mike Mutembei ‘Makarena’ (R) consults with Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka during a recent visit to Meru. PHOTO/Ken Kimanthi/

By DAVID MUCHUI

A section of Meru ODM Mashinani leaders have called on the Party leader Raila Odinga to abandon his planned visit to Meru next month to pave way for resolution of party wrangles in the area.

In a press statement read by County Secretary Robert Kinyua, the ODM members said that they are ready to appoint Mike Mutembei ‘Makarena’ as the Meru  ODM Chairman saying he has the ability to unite the warring factions.

ODM Mashinani youth coordinator in Meru Jeremiah Mutethia said the group is ready to unite with other factions to strengthen the party in the region.

There has been infighting among ODM members in Meru with about four factions terming themselves as the genuine ODM leadership in the County.

“We have identified Makarena as the best suited to serve as ODM Chairman because of his track record. He is capable of uniting the warring parties and bring more members. If the party leadership reject our proposal we are ready to go for party elections to vote for Makarena,” Mutethia said.

They said that they are ready to install Makarena as the Chairman and asked the party secretariat to endorse their choice.

A faction of ODM leaders in Meru allied to Mike Mutembei during a press briefing.

A faction of ODM leaders in Meru allied to Mike Mutembei during a press briefing. PHOT0/David Muchui/

The leaders accused ODM MPs Mpuru Aburi (Tigania East) and Kubai Kiringo (Igembe Central) of abandoning the Orange Party to court the Jubilee government.

“Mpuru and Kiringo will only be allowed in ODM as members. Their loyalty is questionable because they got over 20,000 votes in their constituencies yet Raila got 3,000 only. We wish them well in their courtship with Jubilee,” Kinyua said.

They also accused ODMs top leadership of failing to provide direction for ODM Mashinani in the County.

“Every time when Raila visits Meru he is flanked by Ameru from Nairobi who steal the show from grassroots leaders. We are calling on Orange House to clean those messes and recongnise grass-root leaders,” said the Youth Coordinator.

The entry of Makarena, who hails from Mpuru’s backyard, into ODM politics is seen as party’s bid to neutralize Mpuru’s influence as he has been accused of disloyalty.

Recently, in a television show, Mpuru accused Raila of attempting to push him out of party and threatened to boycott Raila’s Meru visit.

They pledged support for the referendum calls by CORD and Council of governors.

Investment group aims to own homes with Sh100 daily savings

By DAVID MUCHUI
With the skyrocketing cost of living and unaffordable bank interest on loans, people are devising ways of leveraging on the power of many to meet desired financial obligations.

In Meru, a group comprising of over 200 people from all walks of life has come together with the aim of each owning a house worth millions in the next five years.

Twigaire Community Investment Group, a Community based organization (CBO),has a membership of over 200 members who contribute Sh100 per day and the money is kept in a joint account for investment.

According to Mr Isaac Kinoti, the brainchild of the idea and the Patron of Twigaire Community Investment Group, the members have been able to pool over Sh600 thousand in two months.

“The group is purely an investment group on the agreed project and is not a welfare group. We saw that most people can afford Sh100 in a day and everyone has to contribute without fail. We give a grace period of 15 days after which you are removed from the group and lose your savings,” Kinoti explains.

He notes that many people have money but have challenges in saving up to accomplish any project that needs a lot of money.

“Saving money in a bank does not add so much value and borrowing loans can lead some people to more problems. Instead of saving the money and borrowing a loan on it, we have decided to consolidate it and invest in an income generating project. The income generating projects will help us meet our long-term goal,” he relates.

Growing savings
The Patron of the group says that every member is expected to contribute for one year an amount totaling to Sh36, 000 which will be ploughed into viable and agreed upon investments.

“The members have agreed to buy four one acre pieces of land this year where we will rear indigenous chicken. We intend to spend Sh300, 000 per acre and we have already started scouting for land. We will keep 800 Kienyeji chickens in every farm,” says an optimistic Kinoti.

The group has adopted a no debt principle to avert tussles within the group and for safety of their investments.

Besides investing, the group will be able to provide employment for some of their members who have shown interest in managing the four poultry farms.

“From the over 1600 chicken, we anticipate to be making close to Sh900 million in a month. After one year, the members will have their Sh36, 000 working for them and no more contribution will be needed.

In fact, the members can start earning dividends while the rest of the profit is ploughed back into the business,” he says confidently.

Own a house
Kinoti further reveals that in the fifth year, the group will be buying land which will be subdivided for sale and construction of houses for the members.

“In five years, we expect every member to own a house worth millions of shillings. We may opt to use cheaper prefabricated building technology to cut costs and time,” says Kinoti who is an investor in the hospitality industry in Meru.

The group members meet every weekend where they deliberate on the progress and submit records of their contributions which are done direct to the group bank account.

“The group leadership changes hands every month where members take over based on the registration list. Every member foots the bill for any group activity and only the bank is allowed to handle the money. A decision is binding if it is approved by 50 percent of the members,” he adds.

Kinoti says that the investment idea is an inspiration of his own financial experience and advice received from successful people in the society.

“Investing requires patience and discipline. I have managed to buy land and construct business premises without borrowing. However, it has taken me over 10 years and I am yet to finish up. The beauty of it all is that I owe no one,” Twigaire Group Patron asserts.

His advice to those seeking to make wealth is to do everything possible to ensure their money is at work. “You are either working to be a millionaire or working to make someone a millionaire,” he quips.

Kinoti who is also a radio presenter with a local radio station says that no one should despise their income no matter how low as it has potential to lift their lives if invested wisely.

To those who have dismissed the group as yet another pyramid scheme, he says the group is a way of making money work for its members.

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