Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary (CS), Zachariah Mwangi Njeru, has affirmed plans to roll-out Affordable Housing programs and land swapping of town prisons, to make space for the Construction of more learning and Health Institutions.
Confirming the Government’s pledge to actualize the housing program, Njeru said that a team of experts from the Ministry has been dispatched to all the 47 counties, to inaugurate availability of land to put up the affordable housing projects.
Speaking during a meeting with the Council of Governors (CoG) of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Sector Committee (LHUDSC), held at the Serena Hotel, Mombasa, Njeru noted that the Ministry is working to resolve the pending policies and legislations, as well as lack of title deeds for public lands, that are derailing the government’s development agenda.
“As a Ministry we want to commit to working closely with this Committee, to unlock issues regarding Housing and Urban Development, so I request that we have regular meetings to track implementation of the resolutions, that we will develop and agree during this forum”, said the CS.
The Chairman of the LHUDSC, who is also Kisumu Governor, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, said that both the County and National Governments are working to streamline the impasse disrupting the activation of the Affordable Housing projects in the counties.
Nyong’o noted that the main challenges are huge pieces of government land not having title deeds and that the majority of the public land, is being illegally owned by individuals.
He added that land litigation in court is also one of the setbacks fronting the realization of the projects at the county levels.
The Governor of Tharaka Nithi, Muthomi Njuki, who is also a member of the Committee, said that most of the prisons located in towns are occupying very prime land.
Njuki pleaded with the National Government to come up with a budget to actualize the plan to land swap the prisons because there is good will from both the urban county levels and correctional services Department.
“We are asking for collaboration between the counties and the National Government to resolve this hindrance so that we can utilize the urban land to build hospitals, schools or even parks”, said Njuki.
Njuki added that prisons in town centres are in fact a safety risk to the society in-case of breakouts.
The CS read out the resolutions that they came-up with at the end of the meeting, which included, the two levels of government, will form a joint task team, to review all laws and policies in the Land, Housing and Urban Development sector, to align them to the constitution of Kenya.
The Ministry to work closely with the CoG and Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committees (IGRTC) to ensure that houses identified to be transferred to the counties are moved and come up with a team to ensure proper management of houses at the county level.
On the issue of relocation of police stations and prisons through land swapping, the Ministry will discuss with relevant institutions, with a view of presenting a Cabinet memo for approval.
The Ministry to work closely with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and other relevant government institutions, to solve the issue of land grabbing and illegal allocation of public land in various counties.
By Fatuma Said