NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 14 – Members of the National Assembly on Thursday petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to fast-track constitution of a selection panel to recruit replacements for the Mohammed Swazuri-led National Land Commission whose six-year term in office expires next Tuesday.
Led by National Assembly Lands Committee Chairperson Rachael Nyamai, the legislators said this will ensure there is no leadership vacuum at the NLC once the commissioners vacate office.
“With that in mind, this committee will in the near future sponsor amendments to the NLC Act 2012 to create provisions that will facilitate the recruitment process to commence three (3) months prior to the expiry of the term office of the chairperson and commissioners, given the fact that the current Act has no transitional clauses. This will ensure that there is no vacuum and a smooth transition in future replacement of the commissioners,” she said.
According to the National Land Commission Act, the President is required to declare a vacancy in the office of the Commission chairperson and members within 14 days of the office falling vacant.
The Commission has been in the limelight over the last few weeks over corruption allegations, especially concerning compulsory acquisition and compensation for land.
“There have been recurrent and worrying corruption allegations involving some of the commissioners and NLC staff regarding the compulsory acquisition of land to facilitate various development projects like the case of the Standard Gauge Railway some of which are pending in court and others being investigated. The relevant investigative agencies should fast-track investigations into the allegations,” Nyamai stated as she gave the Committee position on the matter.
Committee Vice-Chairman Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), MPs Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) and Catherine Waruguru (Laikipia County Woman Rep) also castigated the outgoing Commission for failing to resolve the historical land injustices in various parts of the country.
“We note, with utmost concern that despite the Commission receiving 388 claims on historical injustices, according to documents submitted to the Committee by the Commission, it is yet to issue solutions and conclude and of the complaints.”