Kirinyaga County has initiated the process of land tenure regularization for 11 select villages previously designated as colonial villages, a move aimed at providing legal ownership to inhabitants who have long lived as squatters.
Approximately 91.2 hectares of land will be surveyed, and titles will be issued to residents of villages including Rwambiti, Kimunye, Ithareini, Mukinduri, Kibirigwi, Kiangoma, Thiguku, Kagumo, Kamuiru, Ndindiruku, and Githogondo.
These villages are among the 149 colonial villages in the county that urgently require tenure regularization.
The initiative is being supported by the World Bank (WB) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) through the National Government's Kenya Informal Settlements Improvement Program (KISIP II).
The goal is to plan, survey, and issue title deeds, ultimately improving living conditions and strengthening the security of tenure for inhabitants.
Governor Anne Waiguru expressed the significance of the regularization, emphasizing its impact on the residents' quality of life.
She pledged full support for the KISIP program in the selected villages, highlighting the urgent need for legal ownership documents.
“The ongoing land tenure regularization for people living in the colonial villages is a huge step towards enhancing the quality of life in the informal settlements,” Governor Waiguru affirmed.
Waiguru assured that her administration would expedite the issuance of title deeds once all processes are concluded.
She emphasized the urgency, stating, “The inhabitants of these colonial villages cannot wait any further; we want to give them legal ownership of the land they occupy because it is their right.”
Public participation forums have already been conducted by the National Project Coordination Team (NCPT) and the County Project Coordination Team (CPTC).
Settlement Executive Committees (SEC) and Grievance Redress Committees (GRC) have been formed in the 11 villages to facilitate communication during the survey and planning processes.
County Executive Committee Member for Lands, Physical Planning, and Urban Development, Rev. Samuel Kanjobe, stressed the importance of prioritizing the interests of the people and ensuring a conflict-free conclusion to the regularization process.
“Our Governor wants this process concluded and titles issued as soon as possible, and therefore, I request you to put the interest of the people first,” Kanjobe urged elected members.
Residents, including one named Patrick Njenga from Ndindiruki village, expressed gratitude for the initiative, citing the lack of title deeds since their settlement in 1974.
They highlighted the missed opportunities, such as using titles as collateral for loans or making long-term investments.
Ruth Wanjiku from Thiguku village thanked the County Government for enabling legal land ownership, anticipating easier land subdivision among family members.
David Muriuki from Rwambiti village and Jacinta Wairimu echoed the sentiment, acknowledging the historic significance of the land titling initiative and the security it brings to land ownership.