By Mwakwaya Raymond
Majaoni residents have told off the County Government of Mombasa over its intention to raise land rates saying this will be met by undisclosed action.
The residents read ‘malice’ on the part of the executive for planning to increase the rates without public participation.
“You cannot wake up one morning and flex your muscles in total contravention of the spirit and the letter of the Constitution and expect to walk Scot free,” they said.
Recently, the Environment and Land Court Justice Sila Munyao suspended the County government’s decision to increase property rates from January this year.
The court also issued an interim order restraining the County from demanding or invoicing rate payers on the alleged Valuation Roll.
However, this order will remain in force until March 11 when an ‘’inter-parties’ hearing of the application will be heard.
The residents were reacting during the launch of a week-long sensatization forum on Land Rates and Types of Titles which was held at Majaoni Msikitini in Kisauni Constituency.
Presiding over the event, the Local Empowerment for Good Governance (LEGGO) director Lucas Fondo expressed fears the County government’s move would escalate not only land value but also attract high rates.
“We are afraid, we might fall victims of high land value which will definitely attract high rates that may lead to some of the locals losing their property through auction if they fail to pay,” he said.
Saying the levels of poverty were high, Mr Fondo noted that any increase would have adverse effects on the ‘ever-struggling’ residents who live by the mouth each day of their lives.
He welcomed those who sort court intervention saying that was one way of fighting the County chiefs’ intention that did not have room of accommodating those in need like the Majaoni residents.
300 PER CENT
The director cited the case of Mvita residents who along with others were up in arm against the same whose properties were over-valued by 300 per cent forcing some to go to court,” he added.
Member of County Assembly (MCA) Robert Nyiro, who was in attendance, explained that though land registration was a noble exercise, the valuation should be done within the set standards but not to over charge.
He pleaded with the residents to capitalize on the exercise so as to have their parcels of land registered and benefit from acquiring bank loans.
“The titles are not just meant to stay at home but used through seeking bank loans to develop yourselves economically,” he said.
The week-long exercise which ended on Wednesday targeted to register land owners at Majaoni who were issued with title deeds by the Deputy President William Ruto last year.
According to the County acting director land administrator Rose Munupe the exercise will enable them to do good planning and render better services to the locals.
The county, she says, has earmarked several schemes whose land owners are yet to be registered.
“The same exercise will be conducted at Ziwa la Ng’ombe, Shanzu, Mkomani, Kidunguni alongside other schemes,” she adds assuring the residents that no scheme will be overvalued.
The MCA took issue with the service providers within the County accusing them of sleeping on the job and sidelining the area on matters development.
“The executive is not felt here on the ground because there are no services offered such as piped fresh water and good roads to facilitate easy accessibility,” he alleged.
A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed the residents survive on borehole water that was not safe for drinking or cooking their meals.
“We fear an outbreak of water-borne diseases if the County government does not move fast to supply us with fresh water for our domestic usage,” she says.
Efforts to get comments from the relevant authorities hit a snag with many calls to offices of service providers going unanswered.