NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 – The Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning will continue working closely with the National Land Commission to repossess illegally acquired land.
Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said over 4,000 title deeds have been revoked by the government in the last three years.
“We worked very closely with the Land Commission. Over 4000 title deeds have been revoked.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 the public objecting to development projects through court injunctions.
The chairman of the National Land Commission Muhammad Swazuri said under the new Constitution the law requires both the national government, land commission and the count governments to consult before allocating any piece of land.
“The community land act says all grabbed public land titles must be revoked,” he said.
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 that the commission is in the process of developing an integrated national Lands database which will increase transparency in issuance of title deeds.
Irungu Houghton of Shule Yangu Alliance said there is broader campaign involving civil society organizations 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 prison facility, a 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.
He said the cabinet waiver on survey fees which was recently 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.
Governor of Nairobi County 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.
Governor Kidero said he is amused that the same military which is harassing the public 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.