By Bryanne Onsoti and Joseph K. Mwangi
Nairobi 17th Nov…Lands and Physical Planning Cabinet Secretary Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi says his Ministry has boosted the registration and issuance of title deeds from a total of 5.6 million since independence (from 1963 to June 2013 averaging to 112,000 per year) by adding a further 2.4 million in 2013/2014 to the first quarter of 2016/2017 (800,000 per year).
Prof Kaimenyi spoke when he presented the milestone of the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning under the Jubilee Government at the State House Summit.
“The ministry in collaboration with National Land Commission has also launched the National Land Information Management System (NLIMS),” said the CS.
The NLIMS will be the custodian of digitized data on land in the country to enhance efficiency in serving the public.
The ministry has also initiated the digitization of 13 land registries that has seen the automation of land registration transactions.
“The process of digitizing other 12 out of 57 land registries is at 79 per cent. The 12 registries will be finalized by December, 2016,” said the CS.
Prof. Kaimenyi said the ministry has been implementing land reforms geared towards equitable access and use of land resource.
In fast tracking the issuance of titles, the CS said the Government has temporarily waived land adjudication and survey fees, registration charges totaling Sh5.85 billion for 3 million title deeds, fees for processing title deeds.
The CS also spoke on the Government’s achievement in the development of geospatial data with the construction of the National Geospatial Data Centre at a cost of Sh800 million.
“Since coming into office, the Jubilee Government has overseen the survey and reaffirmation of 290km along Kenya and Uganda (44km), Ethiopia (110km), Tanzania (30km) and Somalia (106km). This averages 96km per year.” Said Prof. Kaimenyi.
After the presentation by the CS, the Summit discussed various issues touching on land including the efforts the government has undertaken to protect riparian land, the resettlement of squatters, and revocation of titles and repossession of public land.
To address the issue of squatters, the ministry is in the process of commissioning a field and desktop study of the status of squatters in the country and a concept paper on the study was finalized on November 11.
“It is expected that this study will provide insights on the squatter issue and provide data upon which various squatter resettlement programmes will be based,” said the CS.
The Summit was attended by senior Government officials, dignitaries from Kenya’s private sector, parliamentary committees on land and civil society groups among others.
“We worked very closely with the Land Commission. Over 4000 title deeds have been revoked. This includes land owned by politicians and churches,” said the Lands Cabinet Secretary.
The CS was responding to issues raised over grabbing of public land, historical land injustices and contentious land ownership.
Prof. Kaimenyi said the reason why most public land was being grabbed easily is due to lack of general public knowledge on the processes and basic information required on issues of land ownership.
The Lands CS also called on all relevant government agencies to involve the public in the implementation of various projects from the planning stages to avoid unnecessary delays with citizens objecting to development projects through court injunctions.
The chairman of National Land Commission Prof. Muhammad Swazuri said under the new constitution the law requires both the National Government, Land Commission and the County Governments to consult before allocating any piece of land.
“The community land act says all grabbed public land titles must be revoked,” said Prof. Swazuri.
The NLC Chairman also said that the commission is in the process of developing an integrated national Lands database which will increase transparency in issuance of title deeds.
Governor of Nairobi County Dr. Evans Kidero sought to know why the military has denied residents of Mihango- Kayole area access to a public road.
Governor Kidero said he is amused that the same military which is harassing wananchi in Kayole has lost land to grabbers in Eastleigh.
A leading Kenyan industrialist, Manu Chandaria raised the issue of a land tussle between former President Daniel Arap Moi and the United States International University-Africa (USIU).
In response, Prof. Swazuri said that the National Lands commission wrote to the concerned parties and it is only the former President who responded by submitting his documents.