By BERYL OYWER, published in THE STAR
The government loses millions of shillings in grabbed public school land, a report released yesterday shows.
The impact report by the Shule Yetu Alliance, which comprises civil society organisations, indicates that approximately Sh750 million has been lost in 15 schools sampled across 10 counties.The survey was done between September and November last year.
Among the schools that have reportedly lost land is Naka Primary School in Nakuru. The school lost 10 acres to grabbers. The land is valued at Sh320 million.
Lang’ata Road Primary School, Nairobi, allegedly lost 1.5 acres, with a market value of Sh81 million. Other schools sampled were Maralal (Samburu), St Catherine’s (Nairobi), St Brigid’s (Nairobi), Nairobi School (Nairobi), Mwamdudu (Kwale), Changamwe (Mombasa), Danicha (Kilifi), Yikisemei (Makueni), Tisya (Makueni), Mbacaca (Tharaka Nithi), Sitatunga (Trans Nzoia), Sumbeiyo (Uasin Gishu) and Kimalel (Uasin Gishu).
All 15 schools reported cases of land contestation, encroachment or grabbing. “Secondary [school] education costs an average of Sh53,000 [annually]. The money lost through public school land grabbing is enough to cater for 13,636 students,” Shule Yangu Alliance campaigns manager Victoria Green said.
Lands CS Jacob Kaimenyi called for the deregistration of professionals who aid land grabbers. He said school principals should also be held liable for not providing necessary documentation to the ministry, for titling.
“It is extremely unfortunate that we have cities and towns, where there is no public place for our children to play,” Kaimenyi said.
“We will soon have a generation of sofa children. The slow pace of titling is because school administrators do not have the necessary documentation for our officers to start the process of issuing title deeds.”
In a previous study by the Shule Yetu Coalition, out of the 29,404 public schools in the country, 83 per cent did not have title deeds and 41 per cent were not fenced, falling prey to encroachment and grabbing.
National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri urged the Judiciary to stop issuing injunctions to land grabbers, saying they hamper efforts to stop the vice.