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Residents want sub county land registrars’ offices empowered

Residents from the upper Eastern region want the government to empower land registrars and administrators at the Sub County levels to enhance quality service delivery.

Speaking during a public participation exercise on the land law (Amendment) bill 2023, the residents said that as it stands, the offices were incapacitated in terms of finance and the workforce and this was the main hindrance to serving Kenyans satisfactorily.

“I am very sure that by reforming the land sector, the government is set to get more revenue.”

We are expecting that this will in return be used to give our registrars and land administrators more money as well as employ more staff in order to reach more people in remote areas in need of the services,” said Mr Harrison Marete from Meru County lands control board.

He added that most of the residents in need of the critical services were tacked into the interior parts of the counties and the land registrars can’t access such areas due to mobility inconveniences.

“Some poor families cannot raise money to get to the lands offices and hence end up giving up on the efforts of getting the required documents for their parcels of land. As a result, ‘cartels’ end up taking this advantage to grab their lands through backdoors,” said Mr Marete.

Sospeter Njeru from Tharaka Nithi County said the exercise was an eye-opener to the residents and called on the ministry to consider holding more of such forums for the benefit of those who were not participants in the exercise.

The exercise which was held at Imenti North National Government Constituency Fund (NGCDF) offices and attracted stakeholders from Marsabit, Isiolo, Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Embu Counties.

One of the team leaders during the exercise and who is the Director of Survey Mr Weldon Maritim said unscrupulous surveyors were to blame for the mess in land allocations in settlement schemes and riparian lands.

He expressed confidence that if passed, the new law will eliminate quacks and fraudsters as well as help in streamlining service delivery through the National Land Information Management System.

He said the proposed statute provided for strict adherence to the law and would therefore not allow for illegal transactions.

The Director added that the bill would seal loopholes which impersonators, fraudsters and middlemen capitalized on to solicit bribes, and upholds the integrity of land ownership documents which will ensure money paid by Kenyans will go directly to the government.

Senior Counsel Mr Thomas Abuta who was also part of the lead team indicated that there was need to amend outdated legislations in line with the 2010 constitution in order to address many outstanding land issues.

If assented into law, he added, the proposed bill will lay ground for the review and introduction of the long-awaited new land laws as enshrined in the 2010 constitution.

He said some of the current laws were enacted in 1962 and therefore needs to be reviewed as the constitution requires that land laws should be reviewed after every 10 years, for better management of land use in the country.

The Bill proposes to amend the Registration of Documents Act; the Land Control Act; the Land Registration Act, 2012; the Land Act, 2012; Community Land Act, 2016; and, the Sectional Properties Act, 2020.

The Regulations under review include The Survey Regulations (Amendment), 2023; The Survey (Electronic Cadastral Transactions) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023; The Community Land Regulations (Amendment) 2023; The Physical and Land Use Planning (Planning Fees (Amendment) Regulations, 2023; The Valuers (Forms and Fees) (Amendment) Rules, 2023; The Land Regulations (Amendment) 2023; and, The Land Registration (General) Regulations (Amendment), 2023.

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