Court stops issuance of titles for Mwea Trust land

The Kerugoya High County has stopped the issuance of title deeds in relation to the controversial Mwea Trust whose ownership is being claimed by Kirinyaga and Embu counties.

This followed an application by Kirinyaga County government which accused the Ministry of Lands of issuing title deeds to Embu residents living in the disputed 54,000 hectare land.

Through lawyer Manyonge Wanyama, the county told the court that subdivision of the land and issuance of title deeds was going on despite the pending suit in court.

Mr Wanyama said the matter should be certified as urgent and the court grant a conservatory order to stop the on-going land transaction process.

Consequently, Justice Boaz Olao said the matter had been certified as urgent and issued the conservatory order and directed that the case be mentioned on December 6 for further directions.

The National Land Commission and the Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai were named as second and third respondents respectively in the suit while Embu County has been listed as an interested party.

However, Justice Olao also restrained Embu County from issuing the vital land documents to its people until the application filed by its neighbouring county is heard and determined.

According to the order, anyone who disobeys it shall be in contempt of court and will be liable to up to six months imprisonment.

The two counties have been embroiled in the land battle for long, each claiming to be legal owner.

Kirinyaga County has been arguing that the land belongs to its people but in the 1960s, it was relocated to Embu during the boundary review.

However recently, Kirinyaga government sued seeking to have the court to determine who the genuine land owner is.

The Kirinyaga government accused the Ministry of lands and the Embu County of not respecting the property rights of all the local community members by demarcating and allocating the disputed land.

“The respondent without conducting meaningful public participation or respecting the property rights of the local community members, have demarcated the land,” said Mr Wanyama.

He continued: “The land titles arising from the flawed process have been processed and are being issued.”

Mr Wanyama warned that there will be a serious threat to security, peace and stability in the disputed land if the issuance of title deeds continued.

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