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Digital mapping of public land to curb graft in Kenya counties

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Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Lands minister James Orengo and the ministry's Permanent Secretary Dorothy Angote inspect plan records at Ardhi House, Nairobi. Photo/ PHOEBE OKALL. 

By David Njagi

Posted  Sunday, August 12  2012 at  16:24


The inventory will be created through use of Geographical Information System and Global Positioning System, indicating information on public land such as location, acreage and current use.
“This information will give communities a wide grasp of public land as a community asset,” said Justus Musyoki, a project officer with the Land and Land Resources Natural Project.

He said that the initiative would help secure land for social utilities like schools and hospitals.
The move comes at time the Provincial Administration is raising concern over use of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) money to buy land from individuals despite the public land being available.

Corrupt individuals

“A lot of land was grabbed in the past and we know corrupt individuals are still waiting for a chance to encroach the remaining parcels,” said Lari DC Bernard Kinyua. “But if the people know what asset belongs to them then CDF would not be used for these purchases.”
Under the National Land Policy, the government is required to keep an inventory of public land.

The records should be kept by the National Land Commission in trust for the Kenyan people.
Last week, parliamentary Committee on Land began vetting nominees to the new commission.

A land survey, which the Swedish government funded, established that communities have scanty information on public land as a resource and an asset. The findings resulted in the launch of the digital mapping project last week on Thursday.

The survey cost Sh8 million.

“There is a need for the government to hasten the Community Land Act, among other legislation as a way of achieving land reforms”, said Andes Ronquist, the head of development co-operation at the Swedish Embassy.