Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney has instructed chiefs to start sensitising residents on the land succession procedure as the government embarks on the issuance of 17,000 title deeds in Elgeyo Marakwet.
The CS who launched the exercise at Iten sportsground said most residents are unaware of the procedure saying that was part of the reason most title deeds were still lying idle in land registration offices countrywide.
Ms.Karoney said between now and July 31, all title deeds will be issued free of charge following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to waiver the fees.
“We are therefore appealing to all residents to take advantage of the waiver and collect their title deeds, as after that, the charges will resume,” the CS said.
Noting that land was a resource, the CS called on residents to use their titles as security to access loans from banks which they can use to empower themselves economically.
The CS said it was risky for one not to have their title deed saying one cannot prove ownership of land adding that some unscrupulous people can access them at land registries and use them to acquire loans.
Saying that 30 percent of land not registered in the county was mainly in the Kerio Valley as it is communally owned, the CS said the government was in the process of registering community land which she said will reduce land related conflicts in the area.
She explained that her ministry was awaiting an inventory of all community lands from the counties who are their legal owners so that they can document and register them, a process which will be fast tracked to ensure the communities get title deeds.
“Once registered, it is upon the community to decide what they want to do with their land collectively to benefit them,” she said.
Ms Karoney said the ministries of lands and that of environment had written a policy paper to the cabinet which will lead to the development of a master plan to manage conservation and settlement matters.
She therefore called on residents living along the Kerio escarpment and those evicted from Embobut forest to be patient.
The CS regretted that women owning land in the county just like in the rest of the country were very few saying while majority of them are the ones who till the land, very few own it.
“Women should be allowed to own land as it has been proven that they are better at utilisation of resources for the good of the family,” she said.
By Alice Wanjiru and Alex Kipyego