Lobbyists extol Kenya land policy

December 4, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec  4 – Civil society groups advocating for the access and control of land, and land-based natural resources are calling for the immediate implementation of provisions in the just passed Sessional Paper on the Land Policy that don’t require any change in legislation.

Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) Chairman Mwenda Makathimo lauded Parliament for passing the Policy and called for setting aside of a budget to finance the implementation of the new regulations.

The lobbyists said the mechanisms must be established for harmonisation and enactment of support legislation, establishment of the required new institutions including the National Land Commission, District Lands Boards, Community Lands Boards and Land Tribunals.

He described its passage as “a national victory that heralds breaking off the history of poor land management practices reflected in the continued poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation.”

He added: “The adoption further provides a signal to the detractors of the national reforms, that the people are ready for change. The public does not want the maintenance of the status quo and will not be held hostage for the benefit of a few ‘landed’ elite. The time for land related clashes, inequitable access to land based resources and impoverished communities are up.”

They said they would push to safeguard the land provisions in the Harmonised Draft Constitution adding that they reflected the inclusions in the Sessional Paper for any meaningful changes in the land sector to be affected.

Shelter Forum Executive Director Eric Makokha said the implementation of the reforms will facilitate economic development and promote national cohesion by initiating mechanisms to resolve inequalities in access to land and address of historical injustices related to land.

“This country has got so many policies that lie in the shelves without being implemented. That is why we are where we are. We are going to remain vigilant to ensure that indeed what is contained in this Sessional Paper is indeed implemented and done so as soon as possible,” Mr Makokha said.

The groups said policy provides for the creation of a land bank which the say will be useful in attracting investors and creating more employment opportunities. They said this would be a departure from the current situation where government has difficulties finding land for development because public land is the hands of individuals.

The policy has been lauded as it provides for a clear mechanism to enable the government repossess such land, or land that has been left idle for a specified amount of time.

Parliament On Thursday adopted the policy that contains major proposal that will streamline the thorny subject of allocation and administration of land in the country.


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