, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Mohammed Swazuri is a man with little to smile about.
The scowl he wears behind his desk and the complaints piled high on his desk is a depiction of the great burden he holds as bearer of the office of the National Land Commission Chairman.
It wasn’t easy for this man and his team to get into office given the delays that forced the court to intervene and while Swazuri had an inkling of the amount of work that would follow their swearing-in, he admits that the reality is far more daunting.
“It is more than what we expected now (that) we’ve come to see the overwhelming mandate of the commission… It’s difficult with all that nebulous mandate. It’s very very difficult.”
“So you find there are even some things which are happening, you see in the media, where you are supposed to participate but because of the fact that we’re still laying down the ground work we just let these things pass and follow them up after,” he told Capital FM News.
Six months on, the commission is still trying to synchronise the numerous legislation that governs land use in the country.
“There are five documents, the National Land Policy of 2009, the Constitution of 2010, the Land Act, Land Registration Act and the National Land Commission Act of 2012,” Swazuri enumerated.
He is however optimistic that the commission will have all this legislation working in harmony in three months time.
“We expect that by the end of November or so everything will be put in place because every regulation that we make, every procedure we undertake must be taken through Parliament and therefore we are almost ready to present some of the legislation that is required at the initial level,” he explained.
Another piece of legislation the commission is eager to get off the building blocks is that which concerns the eviction and resettlement of squatters.
Especially as President Uhuru Kenyatta was forced to intervene, as late as last month, in the forceful eviction of hundreds from the disputed Narasha in Naivasha.
“We noticed that there are so many evictions which are occurring and so we’d like the Evictions and Resettlement Bill as well as the Community Land Bill to come into effect as soon as possible,” Swazuri said.
The legislation aside, the commission is also grappling with a large number of complaints pouring in from the counties.