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MPs sluggish on land issues, experts say

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – A stakeholder in the land sector is urging Parliament to fast track the implementation of legislation dealing with land issues.

The Land, Development and Governance Institute (LDGI) argues that the process of enacting relevant laws is behind schedule with no significant gains made in the last seven months since the promulgation of the new Constitution.

A Director at the Institute Mwenda Makathimo pointed out on Tuesday that there was need to give attention to the National Land Policy, protection of property rights law and equity in land distribution.

"The time frame for revising all the land laws and coming up with new Bills to govern land is 18 months from the date of the promulgation of the Constitution," he said.

"Already, seven months have lapsed so the period remaining is eleven months and within those seven months, no law had been taken to either Parliament, CIC or to the Attorney General," he stated.

He observed that without commitment from Members of Parliament, the process of reform in the sector could stall.

"The laws under question are over 30 and revising all of them in 11 months is no simple task and that has to be given top priority," he explained. "Protection of property rights of a land has been prioritised and also ensuring equity in land distribution. We also have the simplification of the land transaction process and ensuring accountability."

Speaking ahead of the resumption of the 4th session of Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, he stressed the need for the house to take the issue as a matter of priority.

"The institute is concerned that as Parliament resumes its sessions, nothing is on its agenda regarding land seven months into the promulgation and only with eleven months going to having all these laws legislated," he said. "This is worrying to us as the stakeholders."

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He said effective implementation would be a boon to realising the objectives of country\’s Vision 2030.

He emphasised the need for stakeholders not to relent on putting the government to task over the promises and commitments they endorsed.

Mr Makathimo said the proposed decentralisation of land administration requires institutional restructuring.

He pointed out the necessity of approaching the compulsory acquisition of land with care so as to cause least disruption to existing business ventures.

He said that other than bring losses to the country, such action eroded confidence in investing in real estate in the country.

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