Why land title is a useless piece of paper in Kenya:Syokimau,Eastleigh demolitions
As I write this piece three bulldozers are busy pulling down flats worth million of shillings in Eastleigh Section three leaving in the wake grieving owners.
On Monday residents of this area woke up to the deafening sound of the bulldozers without any warning by the landlords. Most who had gone for night shifts and were taking a nap were woken up by the chaos that followed when demolition started.
As day four of Eastleigh demolition continues owners of these buildings are counting huge losses despite having genuine title deeds for the land. The military has said they don’t care whether the land has titles but security of the fighter planes that use Moi Airbase is paramount.
One owner of the demolished building, worth ksh50m, said he has a genuine title issued in 1975. Each month he gets sh600,000 in rent income from the flats. But all that came to naught on Tuesday morning when the bulldozers descended on his flats and in three hours his 36 years of labor had been reduced to rubble.
These new wave of demolitions raises the question of what use is a land title-deed if it cannot protect home owners’ rights. We have seen the same government which gave plot owners title deeds in Syokimau turn against them and demolish their homes. Most of them had taken massive loans to put up the homes,and in a flash they were left homeless.
As usual we are now firefighting and apportioning blame for the mess. Today Parliamentary committee on Land and Natural Resources headed by Mutava Musyimi(who is running for presidency) id on day three of probing the demolition. Nothing much will come out of this probe and the MPs will pocket their allowance and yes the much-needed publicity.
Kenyans obsession with land leads to massive loss.
Most of Kenyans I know they have one goal in life,to work hard,save and buy a plot. Nairobians have a pull to owning land in Kitengela, Athi River and such areas where land is still affordable. Without having a plot of land is considered not being a visionary,your friends will taunt you if after three years of working you have not bought a plot.
We have many pending court cases as a result of land and probably ministry of lands must be among the most corrupt offices in Kenya today. The trouble starts when unsuspecting land buys go to the ministry and do a land search and indeed find it genuine,take a loan,buy and even build a home only to be told later that the land was a fake.
But a time has come when we should let go of the land and concentrate more on other investments. If you have sh500,000 instead of buying a controversial piece of land why not invest the same and get 20,000 as profit per month from the investment rather than wait for the land to appreciate in value?
Most developed countries like Germany most people don’t own plots and they stay in low-cost flats without a worry of whether a bulldozer will come calling. In Kenya we need to depend more on innovation rather than the old adage that who owns land is more secure.