NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 15 – The newly inaugurated National Lands Commission (NLC) Chairperson Gershom Otachi has pledged to expedite reforms in the land sector and expedite resolution of disputes.
Speaking during a swearing in ceremony presided over by Chief Justice David Maraga on Friday, Otachi pledged to ensure land disputes are promptly resolved and vowed to discharge his duties fairly and faithfully.
“As I take the leadership of the commission, I want to assure all Kenyans that I will be faithful to the constitution and the laws of Kenya while executing my duties. I am well aware that land matters are quite emotive, and I promise that together with other commissioners will resolve land disputes that will be presented to us, objectively, expeditiously and fairly,” Otachi promised.
Otachi took the oath of office alongside six others who were appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as commissioners.
They were James Tuitoek, Gertrude Nduku, Kazungu Kambi, Hussein Alhaji, Reginald Okumu and Muremi Mutegi.
Maraga urged Otachi and his team of commissioners to be cognizant of the fact that land remains a sensitive subject hence the need to strictly adhere to the law.
The CJ further called on the commission to ensure that all unregistered pieces of land are tittled as stipulated in the National Lands Commission Act (2012).
“You going to be challenged, tried and receive a lot of pressure but my advice to you is that stay straight and walk on the narrow path. Let the law and your conscious be your guide otherwise you will let down the people of Kenya and even get yourself in trouble,” Maraga advised.
The appointment of two other commissioners was quashed by the court on Thursday.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court quashed the appointment of former Cabinet Minister Esther Murugi and former Isiolo County Woman Representative Tiyah Galgalo to the Commission citing a flawed vetting process by Parliament.
Justice Hellen Wasilwa however dismissed a challenge on the constitution of a selection panel that interviewed the NLC nominees saying it did not affect the outcome of the vetting process.
The petitioner, Moses Sinanga, had moved to court in September to dispute the recruitment process used by the Selection Panel.
He also challenged the endorsement of Murugi and Galgalo questioning how they made it to the final list forwarded to President Uhuru Kenyatta for appointment yet the two had not been shortlisted.
Otachi was among 11 candidates shortlisted for the position of NLC Chairperson which fell vacant in February after Mohammad Swazuri’s six-year term came to an end.