Government to revoke all title deeds of irregularly acquired land


National Land Commission chairman Prof Muhammad A. Swazuri (right) during the State House land summit on November 14, 2016. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning will continue working with the National Land Commission to repossess all illegally acquired land.

Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said more than 4,000 title deeds have been revoked by the government in the last three years.

“We worked very closely with the Land commission. Over 4,000 title deeds have been revoked.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.

He 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.

He 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 wananchi objecting to development projects through court injunctions.

The chairman of the National Land Commission Muhammad Swazuri said under the 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,” he said.

Karura Forest

He said all land belonging to Karura Forest has been restored after all illegal acquisition were revoked by the Land Commission.

He also added that Eastleigh market has also been restored to the public and urged the Nairobi County to demolish buildings and stop any ongoing construction.

Swazuri also said the commission is developing an integrated national land database to increase transparency in issuance of title deeds.
Irungu Houghton of Shule Yangu Alliance said there is a broader campaign involving civil society organisations and the government in repossessing public land.

He said despite efforts being done, there are hurdles in achieving the goal, citing an example of a piece of land in Eldoret in which a prison, hospital, Administration Police camp, court and a fire station are built and yet the land was allocated to former minister Nicholas Biwott.

He also pointed out that the Uasin Gishu County government headquarters and deputy governors’ home title deeds are still in private hands.

Irungu said on the status of public primary and secondary schools, the land has been mapped but the surveying is yet to take place. This has made it difficult to issue title deeds to these institutions.

‘Survey fees waiver’

He said the Cabinet recent waiver on survey fees is the first step saying there is need to work with governors and county governments to ensure they know how much school acreage the country has.

When asked as to whether the land in question will be repossessed, the chairman of Land Commission said after the first step was to give consequential orders which will lead to the repossession of all public land in question.

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero sought to know why the military has denied residents of Mihango-Kayole area access to a public road.

He said he had raised the issue with all relevant authorities and still nothing seems to be working.

Mr 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, Swazuri said that the National Land Commission wrote to the concerned parties and it is only the former President who responded by submitting his documents.

Several Members of parliament who included Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South), Sabina Chege (Murang’a Women Representative) , Moses Ole Sakuda (Kajiado West) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) said the issue of land needs to be soberly addressed to avoid inter-community conflict.