Increasing efficiency at the Lands ministry went a notch higher yesterday after late-coming staff were locked out.
Staff who arrived at Ardhi House, Nairobi, from 9am were told to go away while those who came on time were serving the public.
The lock out was supervised by a senior administrative officer and caught the workers by surprise.
The ministry has been carrying out reforms to change staff attitude who have been blamed for the rot at the Lands offices.
Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, reports to work at 6.30am and supervises the work in the tents set up outside Ardhi House in the new plan to clean services at the ministry headquarters.
“Although I come to work at 6.30am, it does not mean that everyone should come at that time, but everyone has to be at their work stations within the stipulated time,” Ms Ngilu said.
She added: “I am happy that most of workers have taken the changes positively and everything is working according to plan.”
The minister and Principal Secretary Mariamu El Maawy have desks at the tents, where they occasionally sit to serve the public.
Last week, Land Development and Governance Institute executive director Mwenda Makathimo said employee attitude needs to be addressed since the gains made in reforming the ministry would not count for much if the staff continued to frustrate people seeking services.
“We still receive complaints from the public who go to Ardhi House that they are either kept waiting or asked to leave their documents and come back after a number of days only to find nothing has been done.
Land Institute chairman Ibrahim Mwathane told an audit report on the Lands ministry said: “Land reforms go beyond rearranging files and should also target the attitude.”
Ms Ngilu said that many changes were part of the reforms, which has improved service at the headquarters.
The ministry converted what used to be the library into offices where first consent for renewal of leases is being carried before processing by the National Lands Commission.
SERVING THE PUBLIC
Last month the Cabinet Secretary ordered the closure of the registries, which saw students from Kenyatta University and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology hired to conduct an audit.
The Treasury has allocated Sh2 billion for the reorganisation of the Lands ministry in the 2014/2015 fiscal year. The cash will go towards titling and digitisation
Kenyans flock to ministry headquarters for title deeds
The Lands ministry continued to receive a large number of Kenyans seeking documents to their property for the third week running.
Kenyans have been making long queues at Ardhi House, where services are being offered from tents put up outside the offices.
Many people were seeking searches and leases from the National Land Commission.
The registry at Ardhi House was closed from May 5 to 16 for a clean-up of records.
During this period, searches, stamp duty and land rent payments, and application for valuation and processing were suspended.
Payment was held up for allotments, applications for sub-division of land, settlement programmes and land adjudication.
A number of people looking for their documents were leaving disappointed as there was no one to sign their title deeds.
Mr Munene Njogu, 30, from Ruiru was among hundreds of people looking for their title deeds.
“I am here to enquire about a title deed for land my father was allocated in Ruiru by a teachers’ sacco. I have been coming here for the last three years without success. I hope this time I will get it,” Mr Munene, who was accompanied by his younger brother, said.
Mr Peter Karanja from Nairobi said he hoped to get his title deed after more than four years of waiting.
“I have been moved around for a long time and I hope this time my title deed will be found,” he said.
Mr Karanja said the ministry official, who is supposed to issue the document to him, is always away in courts and meetings.
Ms Jane Mutua, a clerk at a law firm in Nairobi, said she was lucky to get the title deeds for her clients, but complained that there was no one to sign the documents.
“It is tough. Although we have the title deeds and leases from the National Land Commission, there is no one to sign them and this is delaying us,” she said.
The ministry has started to digitised all land documents over the next three years.
This is estimated to cost Sh3 billion.
It is anticipated that land documents will, in future, be accessed at the click of a button.