The government has digitalized the Marsabit County lands registry and placed all transactions under the national land management system for efficiency.
This was achieved under the government’s decentralization of land administration services in the country with the support from the European Union (EU) through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The Administrative Secretary for Lands and Physical Planning Ms Ann Ng’etich said that the main objective of the programme was to take services closer to the people as per the five-year Strategic Plan that was launched last year.
Ms Ng’etich who officiated at the handing over of the digitalized registry and equipment in Marsabit town said the implementation of the strategic plan was aimed at facilitating the much-yearned transformation of lives for Marsabit residents and the country as a whole.
Through the establishment of the national land management system, the administrative secretary said the government was bringing to the fore online services not only to increase efficiency but also good governance.
“As a Ministry, we are committed to enhancing access to land administration services and I thank the European Union and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations for supporting our reform agenda” she said.
Ms Ng’etich called for sustainable land management saying digitization together with legal reforms was expected to steer Kenya towards a digital economy.
She observed that the enormous resources in Marsabit County would be adequately tapped if there was security of tenure to enable residents’ socio-economic growth, secure loans and the devolved unit to attract investors.
The administrative secretary also noted that the acceleration of the digitization process would offer an effective measure to mitigate the effects of the ravaging Corona virus pandemic through reduced human interactions in land transactions.
In addition, she said that the government was making deliberate steps to secure community land rights for the historically disadvantaged communities like the pastoralists.
“Security of tenure is critical for historically disadvantaged communities, especially the pastoralists whose land has never been registered,” she said, adding that Marsabit County accounts for 12 per cent of the total Kenyan land mass. There is 70 per cent unregistered community land in the country.
The national government has so far carried out public education and awareness on Community Land Act, 2016 in all the sub-counties in Marsabit save for Loiyangalani with the administrative secretary urging the concerned parties to ensure the exercise is completed as planned.
She further appealed for the inclusion of women in the programme whom she said should be considered for membership during the intended community land management committee elections.
The County government has already submitted an inventory of community lands to the ministry in which Laisamis, Moyale, Sololo and North Horr have been captured.
However, the ministry which is in the process of gazetting a comprehensive land adjudication programme for the county feels that the four community units were too large and costly to manage in the current form.
Ms Ng’etich requested the County Government to consider revising the inventory in order to come up with convenient and cost-effective units.
Governor Ali welcomed the development saying it was the desire of his administration to have all land records for Marsabit to be accessed locally.
Governor Ali pointed out that opening a lands office in Marsabit had saved the residents the agony of travelling to Isiolo in search of land transaction services.
The governor, while calling on the ministry to accelerate the posting of a land registrar to the county, disclosed that land adjudication and titling was ongoing in Marsabit Central sub-county with 2,345 titles having been processed for Karare and Sagante residents.
He added that the titling process for Badassa and Hulahula settlement areas was underway while residents of Nyayo road estate in Marsabit town have been issued with allotment letters.
Also present was the EU Country Representative Dr David Mwangi, National land Commission CEO Kabale Tache, FAO Head of Land Governance Programme Husna Mbarak and the Marsabit County commissioner Paul Rotich.
Dr Mwangi pointed out the project objective was achieved because the implementing agencies were given a free hand to do their work.
He said that the EU was pleased that the funds were prudently used adding that the organization would be much willing to finance other Programmes geared towards uplifting the life standards of Kenyans.
By Sebastian Miriti