President Uhuru Kenyatta has endorsed the ongoing reforms to modernise the Lands Registry at Ardhi House for efficient and effective service delivery to Kenyans.
President Kenyatta said it was not acceptable for Kenyans to wait for 98 days for a file at the Lands Registry to be processed.
“We have instituted reforms at the Lands Ministry to serve Kenyans better. We want to remove the stain that we are frustrating Kenyans in order to be bribed,” President Kenyatta said.
The President, who spoke to staff and members of the public at Ardhi House after a tour of the Lands Registry, commended Lands, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu for initiating the reforms.
He told the Cabinet Secretary to maximise the 10-day closure of the Central Lands Registry to complete the desired reforms so that Kenyans can get quality service.
“We want to see a new and improved Lands Registry. I am monitoring the progress and you have the support of the Government,” the President added.
He urged stakeholders in the lands sector to support the ministry in its efforts to streamline and to digitise lands documents.
CS Ngilu said the exercise started by the ministry four days ago, is aimed at facilitating reforms in the ministry and not to frustrate anybody. She said the exercise, which is being undertaken by teams of university students, will see the audit of land records at the central land registry before being extended to County land registries.
“The first thing we are doing is to capture all details in the files, transfer the same to a modern filing system which could not be done while staffs are serving the clients. This is the reason we had to close the offices to the public for the period,” she said.
The CS said once the 10-day exercise is over, then registration, adjudication and issuance of title deeds will be done under the same roof. The ministry is also processing over 900,000 title deeds to be issued to Kenyans soon, she added.
The Cabinet Secretary said reforms in her ministry would involve an audit and proper arrangement and digitalization of land records. She added, “Once survey work is complete on the ground, then Kenyans can be able to file application, fill evaluation forms and search for title deeds online.”
“As you can see, with the old system, one could not easily access any particular files. That’s why in most cases, people visiting land offices were often turned away by being told files are lost.”
The visit came as the National Lands Commission moved to court seeking orders to compel Ngilu to re-open the Central Registry and the banking hall to allow ministry employees resume work.
The commission filed the application under a certificate of urgency, saying that closure of the registry has affected operations of the commission and the ministry’s staff.
The commission accused the CS of bringing in strangers to work on the records, further alleging that they were likely to tamper with them and other confidential documents.
“The said strangers are handling documents at the records registry which falls within the sole constitutional and statutory mandate of the commission.”
Presiding judge Justice David Majanja who heard the application certified the matter as urgent and directed that Ngilu is served with the suit papers and the matter be heard on Friday by all parties.