Lamu, KENYA: The National Lands Commission-NLC has acknowledged that many of the land conflicts in Lamu stem from historical injustices committed since the colonial period.
The NLC commissioner for historical injustices Samuel Tororei said the move by the then colonial government to enlist land in Lamu as government land, has done the region great injustice and caused a lot of suffering besides precipitating conflits.
Speaking in Lamu on Monday,Tororei said historical injustices for Lamu began around 1908 at a time where the colonial government gave Africans just six months to lay claim on their lands.
However, since many Africans had no clue about gazette notices,many were subsequently unable to state their claims and that way,Lamu ended up being rounded up and declared as government land which is now public land.
“The assumption by then was that all people in Lamu were squatters who didn’t own any land yet they did only that they had no knowledge on how to lay claim. Thats why the people of Lamu have since felt it was a great injustice,”said Tororei.
As such only the government and other appointed government officers had authority over land including DCs,Dos,Chiefs and commissioners.
Due to that, there was massive land irregularities conducted by the officers including irregular and unfair allocation, careless selling and many more whose effects can still be felt now.
Tororei said the situation has resulted in an increased number of squatters in the county and that it also led to massive land grabbing and unfair allocations to tycoons and ranchers.
“What we see in Lamu now stems from way back in the colonial era.Major mistakes were committed then that still cause damage up to now.But as a commission we are doing all within our means to resolve the situation because what took place then was outright unfair,” said Tororei.