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Gov’t plans to transition to geo-referencing of boundaries

The government is reviewing outdated national land surveying and mapping policies to enable replace general boundaries as the country transitions to geo-referencing (digitalized) platforms.

The move will protect public utilities including road reserves on which title deeds will be issued, lock out land grabbers and keep in check quacks out to fleece the public while masquerading as registered land surveyors.

Members of the public have been advised to keep safe all early edition maps they possess and avail them during the validation process since the documents will be used as historical reference materials.

The taskforce on Draft National Land Surveying and Mapping Policy, 2021 led by Joel Odhiambo held a forum for a public engagement in Kisumu to seek the views of the public over land.

The meeting in Kisumu was a follow up of similar forums held earlier in Lodwar and Eldoret to seek views of the public.

Odhiambo revealed that they plan to digitize all pieces of land including road reserves and make them easily accessible using computers or cell phones.

He was flanked by taskforce members Emanuel Ozera (LSK), Regina Njue of the Ministry of Lands, and Nichodemus Bwika, a physical planner with whom they guided the public discourse.

“These documents for discussion requiring your input are; Survey and Mapping Policy document, Survey Act Cap 299 now broken into two; Survey and Mapping alongside Land Surveyors Registration Act,” he explained.

Odhiambo said cadastral survey which leads to acquisition of land title deeds is one of the key areas they plan to facilitate policy review every 10 years.

He said lack of digitization meant that a lot of money got wasted while planning to undertake any form of development, hence the need to bring all professionals on to the Land Survey Board (LSB) to curb wastage of funds and time.

“Since 1971, the number of trained Land Surveyors have grown to 2,500 but persistent uncoordinated Land Surveying & Mapping brought total disorganization in the sector,” he stated.

“This is why we have fragmented findings leading to duplication of title deeds, lack of data sharing, slow adoption of new technology, insufficient regulation and uncoordinated curriculum development and implementation,” he explained.

Under the proposed Mapping Bill, 2020 he emphasized the need to establish the office of Surveyor General, County Director of Surveys and the need to devolve some forms of the survey functions.

“At the same time, we should establish a traditional Geographical names Committee to safeguard traditional names of roads and other projects from deliberate foreign interference or change that relegated the interests of local communities,” Odhiambo further said.

“The hydrographic committee would focus on our national borders and prevent such issues like the spat we had between Kenya and our neighbor Somalia over the maritime boundary,” he explained.

By Joseph Ouma

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