, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 3 – The National Lands Commission has said it has set out a clear plan to resolve historical land injustices that has bedevilled the country for decades now.
For its implementation to be effected, the Muhammad Swazuri-led Commission has urged Kenyans who for many years have staked historical claim to land they consider originally theirs to submit written complaints as the agency moves to resolve issues.
Speaking during a press briefing on Friday, Swazuri said that the NLC had so far prepared a register of 111 claims and appealed to other affected Kenyans to present their claims.
“Most of the cases submitted are from Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Nandi, Muranga, Narok, Nakuru, Kiambu and Nairobi. The claims reported relate to the loss of land and livelihood, restoration of ancestral land rights and eviction from government forests,” he said.
According to Swazuri, a historical land injustice must have resulted in displacement from a habitual place of residence or must have occurred between June 15, 1895 and August 27, 2010 when the Constitution of Kenya was promulgated.
Swazuri said that the claim to be admitted, registered and processed by the commission it should meet certain criteria among others including, that the claim contradicts a law that was in force at the time when the injustice began.
Swazuri pointed out that for the alleged historical land injustice to be permissible must have been occasioned by colonial occupation, independence struggle, pre-independence treaty or agreement between a community and the government, political motivated or conflict based eviction, corruption or other form of illegality, natural disaster or any other cause approved by the Commission.
Swazuri said that the complainants’ claims will be thoroughly looked into by the Commission prior to issuing a determination of the claim.
According to Section 15 of the National Land Commission Act, the NLC identifies seven remedies for claims arising out of the historical and land injustices.
They range from sales and sharing of proceeds, creation of way leaves easements, order of revocation and relocation of land, affirmative action, resettlement on alternative land, reparation and restitution.
Swazuri further noted that upon determination of an injustice, the Commission will be required to act within three years.
Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi who was also present during the briefing said the government more than ever is committed towards ensuring that never again will the issue be used to divide Kenyans along ethnic lines.
“I believe this is the right time to have an objective conversation on this weighty subject. Claims of historical land injustices have in the past been politicized and used to divide Kenyans along ethnic and political lines.
“It is our responsibility as key actors in the land sector to ensure that never again will claims of historical land injustices be used to divide Kenyans,” said Kaimenyi.