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County Assemblies Can Solve the Squatter Issue by Legislation
“3,000 families in Puma ward, Kwale County face eviction following a notice issued by a private developer,” a statement reads. Those to be evicted claim the notice was issued to them despite living on the 94-hectare land for almost 60 years. The reason the developer of the land will evict 300 families is reported as: “The developer claiming ownership of the land said he wants to use it to rear animals.”
Puwa Ward representative James Dawa should use Kenya Constitution to make sure the 3000 families are not harmed. Today 85% of the Kenyans living in Kenya land were born after independence and regardless of whether the land has another person holding rights the fact is the 85% of this Kenyans are innocent and are in the land God created them.
Rather than Mr. Dawa ask, “Where does he expect the people who have been living there to go?” and in defeat state, “It does not make sense for a person to come from nowhere and claim they own the land.” Mr. Dawa should instead understand this is his job and there are many ways to go about it.
Currently the land has the person who claims to have acquired usage rights most likely through private leasehold. The other issue is there are the 3000 families living inside the land. Kenya Constitution did indeed foresee this when it created the county government. The citizens in a county can protect themselves through the county government and Kenya Constitution through the regulation system of land holding they hold through the county.
Dawa today has the constitutional power given by these 3000 families he represents to make sure they are able to live better lives. Dawa can regulate the land resource that produces their food and indeed have created the 3000 families who most likely were about 100 families 60 years ago working in the farm.
For Dawa to make sure the families get their daily food he should not fight but should lead a bill to be legislated. Article 209 of Kenya Constitution reads “(3) A county may impose— (a) property rates.” This constitution law means that residents of a county have the power to shape the usage of land such that the land gives them the best benefit of food and settlement possible.
Kwale County residents today have the power to state how the land shall be used and the property pay the land shall pay. Today a bill passed by the County Assembly and executed by the Governor and Executive Committee would protect all the persons living in Kwale from evictions.
Some points County Bill passed under Constitution Article 209 could use to regulate land usage and also ensure no property affects other property holders.
- All property in County owned under private ownership that exceeds 20 acres shall be subject to Kshs 20,000 per acre per year payable with the passage of this bill.
- The County shall exempt from payment Kshs 10,000 per every acre for land use that employs 1 person for every 5 acres held and Kshs 20,000 for land that employs 1 per every acre held.
- All persons owning property in the County that is not currently under economic use shall have 30 days from the passage of this bill to file a usage plan of land with the County planning office.
- The County Assembly shall approve the utilization of land resource of all lands within 60 days in the County currently allocated and exceed 50 acres.
- The County Government shall not renew any usage rights to a leaseholder who does not show a land usage for the last 10 years continuously.
- No land that is a resource in the County shall be held idle.
- N person shall be evicted to a County road by any land owner holding land usage rights in the County. Any property owner who puts any person or persons who have been living in their property in any County Road or County property shall be liable for a Kshs 10 million property fine.
James Dawa should be able to explore more ideas and come with a bill that his colleagues should pass that would ensure the county protects those likely to be harmed most, the children.