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Surveyors call for sensitization on land laws

Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) has observed that most Kenyans were not well versed with laws and policies that govern land ownership and usage.
ISK national chairman Mr. Abraham Samoei noted that many Kenyans did not understand the role of devolved governments with regard to land administration and were not aware of the powers and functions of both elected and appointed county officials with regard to land issues.
Speaking in Nakuru during a sensitization forum on land laws, Samoei called for an increase in public awareness interventions on the current dispensation regarding land administration and management at county level to avert possible mismanagement of land and land-based resources.
“Kenyans need to be sensitized through adequate civic education with regard to land matters. It is important for the public to know and understand the functions and laws that govern the administration and management of land in Kenya. This will empower them to carry out the role of monitoring the efficiency, transparency and accountability of the institutions,” said the ISK national Chairman.
His sentiments were echoed by ISK South Rift Branch Chairman Mr. Joseph Kinoti who said Kenyans were barely aware of the four land laws that dealt with land administration in the country.
“These are the Land Act 2012, National Land Commission Act 2012, the Land Registration Act 2012 and the Environmental and Land Court Act 2011. Lack of a clear understanding by the citizenry on the roles of devolved governments with regard to land is bound to have serious ramifications as the Constitution gives these governments immense powers, especially in the control of unregistered community land,” noted Kinoti.
Further, Samoei affirmed the ISK was committed to promoting efficiency and reducing bureaucracy in land transactions and that the Institution was playing an oversight role in formulation and implementation of land policies and management of land resources.
Members of the public, he said, should report promptly to the institution any suspected malpractices and fraud committed by surveyors.
“Citizens need to know where to conduct various land matters such as property search, transfer applications, lease renewals, change of user, dispute resolution and payment of land rates. The general lack of clarity on the new dispensation regarding land administration and management at county level creates room for possible mismanagement of land and land-based resources,” he said
The National Chairman said the Institution would continue to ensure that its members made contributions to development of national and international policies, strategies and plans for land management in a sustainable manner.
The chairman noted that digitization of land records would help address challenges of double allotment and minimize corrupt practices in land issues.
He added that as surveyors, they were following up the issue of individuals who have constructed structures on riparian land.
“The law is very clear on riparian land and those who go ahead to erect structures on such land must face the law. As surveyors, we are following up the issue of riparian land not only in Naivasha but across the country,” said Mr. Samoei.
The Institution of Surveyors of Kenya is a land sector professionals’ organization made up of Valuers, Land Surveyors, Geomatic Engineers, Registered Estate Agents, Property Managers, Building Surveyors, Land Administration Managers and Facilities Managers. Current membership stands at around 3100 surveyors.
Given the low levels of awareness on land matters by the public, ISK recommended that watertight measures be put in place to safeguard citizens’ interests on land matters, in addition to enhanced civic education using the mass media.
By Jane Ngugi

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