Residents of Kitui Township location and the county assembly are up in arms after unknown tycoons invaded and grabbed the BLI (Better Living Institute) public land earmarked for 2,000 affordable housing units.
BLI, which stretches hundreds of acres from the heart of Kitui town, hosts several government institutes including the Agricultural Training Centre, KMTC Kitui Campus, Kenya Water Institute, Kitui Water and Sanitation Company and proposed South Eastern Kenya University Kitui Town Campus.
The locals said they were shocked when the tycoons descended on the large tracts of land adjacent to the Kitui-Kibwezi highway and divided it amongst themselves.
“They came without warning and demarcated then fenced off parcels of land on the government-owned land,” said Joseph Wambua.
“This is an act of impunity against the common mwananchi which cannot be tolerated. The state must take action against the perpetrators,” he added.
Wambua also lamented that the land grabbers had evicted locals who engage in small scale horticultural farming on parts of the public land.
On the same score, speaking after leading the county assembly’s lands committee on a fact-finding mission at the disputed land on Friday, the chair Geoffrey Mwalimu affirmed that the assembly will ensure that the grabbers face the law.
“Let all be warned that this is public property and we will not allow greedy individuals, no matter how influential they are, to grab it or even reap from it,” he assured.
The county government of Kitui had embarked on an ambitious plan to develop 2,000 low cost housing units in a joint venture with real estate investors in a bid to meet growing demand for affordable housing in the county.
The county administration will provide land while the developers will inject financial resources into the project to the tune of Sh6 billion.
During the launch of the affordable housing project last year, Real estate expert and project’s consultant, Musaili Malonza said the initiative will be based on a tenancy purchase scheme which will oversee the purchase of completed units by local residents from developers as guided by the current mortgage rates.