Editorials

New land registration plan needs proper safeguards

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Land Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The conversion of title deeds, which will now be issued under the Land Registration Act, 2012, means that Kenyans can look forward to a more straightforward land registration process, unlike previously when title deeds were issued under four different Acts.
  • We view the move as a key step in righting the wrongs that bedevilled the land registration process in Kenya for years, breeding forgeries that saw many lose their legally held land to fraudsters and grabbers.

The ongoing efforts to clean up the land registry to curb fraud and red tape are laudable. Things should get even better if the plan to register title deeds afresh is executed well.

The conversion of title deeds, which will now be issued under the Land Registration Act, 2012, means that Kenyans can look forward to a more straightforward land registration process, unlike previously when title deeds were issued under four different Acts.

We view the move as a key step in righting the wrongs that bedevilled the land registration process in Kenya for years, breeding forgeries that saw many lose their legally held land to fraudsters and grabbers.

It will also help restore the sanctity of the title deed as proof of land ownership, making it easier to use the document as collateral to access credit.

At the same time, it will protect lenders from the increasing cases of people using forged titles of the same piece of land to borrow from different institutions, which has led to losses of money.

Caution is, however, necessary even as the new reforms are put in place. The cartels and fraudsters who have benefited from the chaos of the past will most likely be hard at work to preserve their schemes.

Given that the land registry is also being digitised, proper safeguards are needed to ensure the new system is tamper-proof.

As with all things digital, there are always vulnerabilities that can be exploited by ill doers if proper safeguards or security measures are not put in place and enforced continuously.

The Ministry of Lands should, however, not stop at just converting titles to the new regime.

They should take the opportunity to secure public land, which has been the favourite hunting ground for land grabbers.

In recent years, fraudsters have illegally excised land belonging to schools, hospitals and other public institutions with impunity, knowing that they could generate fake titles due to the convoluted registration system.

This is therefore the chance to shut them out and make sure that public land is properly registered and title deeds issued to certify this fact.