Sunday, May 19, 2024

How quick fixes are escalating land disputes in Siaya

Authorities in Siaya have decried increased cases of land disputes in the area.

The disputes, authorities say, have led to increased criminal cases within the family levels as kins fight over land.

County Commissioner Jim Njoka claimed that most of the disputes are caused by quick fixes around disposal of land.

Njoka urged residents to ensure adherence to the law when handling land transfers, inheritance and sale.

We have an open-door policy and people should not take law into their own hands to kill each other,

Njoka

He asked the affected families to employ Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) so as to avoid the increasing number of land cases in the local courts.

“Our offices are opened starting with Assistant Chief, Chief, Assistant County Commissioner, Deputy County Commissioner to my office,” he said.

“We have an open-door policy and people should not take law into their own hands to kill each other,” he added.

Mr Njoka noted that the most affected areas are; Bondo, Gem and Alego-Usonga where people are taking law into their hands.

A spot check at Bondo Law Courts revealed that land disputes are some of the common cases in the course list.

Here, most lawsuits were from Yimbo East, West Yimbo and Central Sakwa Wards within Bondo Sub Counties.

At the court entrance, notice board is filled with lists of lawsuits schedule for different days of course majority being land cases.

Many of the cases border land succession, grabbing, fraud, double acquisition, encroachments, issuance of title deeds, objections, administrative certificates issues, among others.

Gentleman agreement

According to Vickylice Opil, North Yimbo Location Chief, most cases involving land disputes are those bought based on gentlemen agreement between seller and buyer.

He said widows and orphans also bear the greatest brunt of land grabbing from their in-laws, uncles and cousins.

“Some conflicts grow directly out of competition for land among small families and extended families but land is often not the sole cause of conflict. It is about demand and greed for land to sell and sort out own socio-economic issues,” said Opil.

To help manage the conflicts, Bondo Law Courts has been sensitizing chiefs on court processes and procedures.

Principal Magistrate Paul Nandi said the aim of the sensitization is to equip and acquaint the officers with knowledge in areas related to Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism, succession, criminal cases and issuance of court summons.

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