Land agency unveils Sh88bn plan to tackle historical injustices and renewal of leases

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu before the Senate Committee on Lands at the Kenya International Conference Centre in Nairobi,

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu before the Senate Committee on Lands at the Kenya International Conference Centre in Nairobi,

The land commission is to spend Sh88 billion in land reforms.

In the five-year plan, the National Land Commission seeks to have all foreigners surrender their leases of more than 99 years.

Under the reforms, they will then be issued with fresh leases of 99 years. Also targeted is irregularly allocated land.

About Sh3.4 billion will be earmarked for the renewal, extension and recall of leases, according to the commission’s 2013-2018 strategic plan.

The document will be scrutinised at a meeting next Friday. The commission also seeks to spend millions of shillings in renewing expired leases of Kenyans.

Many of the leases were issued between 1900 and 1920, said Mercy Njamwea, the commission’s land administration and management director.

“We plan to utilise the new strategy to help us address historical injustices in the land since independence,” Ms Njamwea said. “If we manage to sort out the irregularities in the manner public land was given out over the years, by 2018, we will be fine.”

She said the ministry had developed a database of foreigners with land whose leases exceed 99 years.

The database will be used to recall the leases, “after we develop a road map, we will do this according to the law”, the official added.

The commission will also audit land use patterns and their locations.

Ms Njamwea clarified that Kenyans with land leases of more than 99 years would not need to return their leases.

“Only foreigners are restricted from holding land leases for a term of more than 99 years,” she said.

However, she would not reveal the areas most affected by the change in leases.

Checks by the Nation showed that Coast and Nairobi’s Karen, Westlands and Parklands are the most affected.

The Friday meeting will discuss various issues, including land-grabbing.

Ms Njamwea said the strategy seeks to “close the chapter” of irregular allocation of lands and help stamp out corruption.

The commission will also develop regulations for establishing county land boards. It promises to put in place legislation for investigation and adjudication of historical land injustices.

Parliament is expected to debate and pass the proposed law by February next year so that land injustices are resolved to avert clashes.

The commission promises to review “grants and dispositions” by May 2017 “to have clean and updated land records”.




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