Expert demands land laws be brought to life
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 26 – A stakeholder in the land industry is calling for the speedy operationalisation of the National Land Commission Act 2012, the Land Act 2012 and the Land Registration Act 2012.
According to the Land Development and Governance Institute, the National Land Commission Act will ensure that all unregistered land owners in the country have legal titles within the next ten years.
Chairman Ibrahim Mwathane describes this as a big gain as it will address the situation of land ownership through inheritance where many acquire land legally but do not have titles.
“If you live in this country and understand what that essentially means to the lives of ordinary Kenyans who have never had access to titles yet have land which is their own, it would be a major gain for the country,” he said.
He further pointed out that the Act will also delve into the issue of historical injustices and ways of resolving them.
“. If you read section 15 of the National Land Commission Act, it obliges the commission to develop some legal framework or law to resolve historical injustices in this country within two years of its operationalisation so that Parliament can now take over,” he said.
He explained that the land laws have guidelines that can be used to resolve conflict between communities.
“If you think again about some of the reasons that have got communities in this country fighting one against the other, it has got to do with either real or perceived historical land injustices so if we are able to now legally and in a very structural manner address those injustices, then we are on our way to stabilising both our social and political platforms in this country,” he said.
Mwathane further stated that it is essential for the government to formulate an organised national register of properties in the country if it is to effectively collect tax from landlords and other land owners.
He pointed out that currently, it is not possible to know which property owner is paying or not paying taxes.
He explained that maintaining such an accurate record will further help in revenue collection which can be used in other development projects.
He however observed that for such a record to be put in place and maintained, resources need to be set aside to develop it and competent professionals hired to operate it.
“To be able to do that, we have to spend resources in updating our map coverage, so that all properties that are not covered on maps can be covered.” he said.
“We also need to spend resources on people who can move out there and against the parcels that are covered on our maps get the buildings that are there.”
President Mwai Kibaki assented to the three land laws a month ago.
The National Land Commission Act establishes the National Land Commission and as well provides rules for the management and administration of land in accordance with the principles of land policy as outlined in the Constitution and in the national land policy.
The Act further provides for a linkage between the Commission, county governments and other institutions dealing with land and land related resources.
The National Land Commission shall manage public land on behalf of the national and county governments.
The Land Act on the other hand provides the mechanism to revise, consolidate and rationalise land laws as well as to provide for the sustainable administration and management of land and land based resources.
The Land Registration Act on its part establishes mechanisms to revise consolidate and rationalize the registration of titles to land, to give effect to the principles and objects of devolved government in land registration and other related purposes.