President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday rejected requests by Mombasa leaders and Squatters living in the controversial Waitiki Land in Likoni,Mombasa that the disputed ksh.186,000 as accrued land rates be waived.
The President said the government has done much to ensure the squatters in terms of waiving costs for the land Survey and title deeds and therefore the rate must be paid.
“We had a meeting with the owner of the land and he agreed that he will sell the land to the government, it will be fair for us through settlement fund trustee kitty to pay the money to the owner”. He said.
He accused politicians of playing politics with the land issue as know well the procedures to be followed in land acquisition
“Nimesikia wanasiasa hao wakiteta hapa. wasikuje hapa kucheza siasa hapa. Hiyo pesa lazima ilipwe.” an angry president said before the issuance of more than 5,000 title deeds to the Likoni squatters.
President Uhuru also asked Mombasa County Government to chip in and help the National government in paying the money on behalf of the squatters.
“If the county government is also willing kwamba tulipe hii pesa sisi tutarudisha! I have also no problem” added the President.
Mombasa leaders including Mombasa governor Hassan Ali Joho and Likoni MP Masoud Mwahima had requested the national government to waive the land rate saying that majority of squatters are poor and would not afford to pay the amount of money imposed on them.
The President however said the squatters would be allowed to pay a monthly fee of ksh 1,000 only without interests.
“The amount of money that is needed by every individual to pay every month is Kshs. 1,000 , I think this is a very reasonable and fair deal by any standards.” He added.
This came after a group of dissatisfied squatters threaten to disrupt the Saturday event unless the government agrees to waive the accrued land rates.
The squatters led by a number of village elders who are the beneficiaries said they were not ready to pay the accrued land rates and that they would only accept the title deeds if the accrued rates were waived.
“We never seen any other squatter,who has ever paid for land which has been to them,we want this land for free if not so we would not attend the exercise” said Nicholas Ojambo, a village elder.
The over three hundred squatters who camped at the Likoni CDF offices on Thursday said they had not be issued with the allotment letters despite the exercise scheduled for Saturday.
This emerged even as Likoni Member of Parliament, Masoud Mwahima said negotiations were underway between the county government of Mombasa and the National government on proposals to waive the ksh400 million land rates for the disputed Watiki land.
Meanwhile Deputy President William Ruto who attended the event also admitted that land problems has been a major problem facing Coast region.
Applauding The President’s move to issue out title deeds to squatters terming it as the ‘the only medicine for solving prolonged land question at the Coast.
He however urged leaders to work together for the benefits of Kenyans, “we should all live and co-exist together despite our religious background and tribe but it’s time for leaders to cease from politicking and separating Kenyans for their own selfish needs”.
President Uhuru issued 5,700 title deeds to squatters with the remaining 2,008 to be issued to squatters who are yet to be identified in a period of the next two months.
Additional story by Weldon Kemboi.