Land ownership remains a sticky issue in our country and record management seems to be one of the core problems. There are many instances where several people have title deeds for the same parcel of land.
This issue led two innovative minds from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) to seek solutions in technology and the result has been quite impressive.
Robert Ouko and Jennifer Mwai, both at the university’s School of Computing and Information Technology, are the brains behind a Biometric Land Registration system that seeks to forestall land ownership issues such as land grabbing.
The system has a database where information on the parcels of land, say in a district, is stored. The information entered includes the geographical location, size, map, owner and the number of times it has changed hands. The owner’s details are also entered and the finger print stored. The system uses a mSQL and oracle databases to store the information.
This innovation relies on the unique features of the human being such as iris and fingerprints to capture and store a person’s land title information like location of the land, size, land photo, personal details of the person registering for land.
If a person is blind, he or she can be registered by use of a bar code reader which uniquely identifies the person or the owner of the title deed.
“If the owner of the land puts a finger on the fingerprint detector, all the information about his land is retrieved. Because no two persons in the world have similar finger thumbs, the information can only be unique to one person,” explains Mwai, 22.
For those persons without finger thumbs for any reason, the system can store their eye iris, which is another unique feature for every individual.
Should one opt to sell the land or transfer after registering biometrically, the system initiates the change.
It cost the duo Sh50,000 and it took seven months to put together the prototype, which has been tested using a sample data at the university and the result has been accurate.
The innovation caught the attention of the Ministry of Lands with Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu inviting the duo to make a presentation to the ministry’s IT team.
“We were invited last December by the CS and we took the IT team through the system and how it works and they were quite impressed. We have a follow up meeting from where we will see the way forward but we hope it can be improved and adopted,” explains Ouko, a former at Homa Bay Secondary School student.
He is, however, of the opinion that the system is not one for sale to individuals but they see avenues of working with the government to help digitalise lands records from where there can be a revenue share.
The students acknowledge that this would not have been possible without the support of the chairman IT department Philip Oyier, David Kagima and Eunice Olweny of Extension Department, among others at JKUAT.