Widows and Orphans to Benefit from Land Reforms – Prof Kaimenyi

CS Lands Jacob Kaimenyi opening  regional conference on mapping of resources for development. Photo: Dorah Nesoba
CS Lands Jacob Kaimenyi opening regional conference on mapping of resources for development. Photo: Dorah Nesoba

Widows and orphans will benefit a lot from the on going reforms in the lands sector, Lands Cabinet secretary, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi, says.

The CS says he is studying the Women’s Land Rights Charter, recently presented to him by civil society with a view to seeing how best it can be embraced in the ongoing land reforms by his ministry.

The ambitious reforms include the digitalization of all land registrars in the country to increase efficiency and reduce corruption and fraud that was previously the order of the day.  Some of the

Some of the demands in the women’s land charter are: women empowerment by enabling them to access land rights, technology, and financial resources to improve their livelihood; and that 50 per cent participation of women in decision-making bodies and implementation of land issues and matters (including in the valuation of land and payment of compensation for natural resources) so that they can speak and defend their land rights, among others.

Said the Minister: “Women, children, widows and orphans in particular, have had many problems because of land disputes and inheritance cases. These ongoing land reforms in the Constitution and Land laws are aimed at addressing their concerns.”

Reforms

In the past decade, the Government and the Ministry of Lands have put in a lot of effort to make various reforms in the land sector through the National Land Policy formulation, constitutional changes in 2010 and enactment of a number of legislation such as the Land Act 2012; Land Registration Act 2012; National Land Commission Act 2011; Environment and Land Court Act 2011 and the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011.

Lands CS addressing journalists on land reforms. Photo Dorah Nesoba

Lands CS addressing journalists on land reforms. Photo Dorah Nesoba

According to the CS, the above were aimed at making land administration and management more efficient and transparent.

“Efforts to reform and modernise our land record management systems, mapping and registration of titles to land are on course,” Prof Kaimenyi revealed.

Some of the reforms in the land sector are the requirement that women be members of the land boards and also of the land control board as decision-makers and not just as observers.

In addition to that legal requirement, the law also requires that all land transactions must include the family, in other words the mother, and the children must attend and give approval before any sale can be given consent to by the Land Board, which is chaired by the sub-county commander.

Some of the reforms include raising sitting allowances for the Land Control Board members from Ksh500 to Ksh2, 500 per sitting; and those of members of the Land Appeals Board rose to Ksh3, 000 per sitting, to motivate them.

The minister said he has been touring most of the land registrars to have a feel of the challenges the officers and the public were facing so that they could be addressed in the reforms.

Programme

So far, 13 of the 34 land registries in the country have been digitalized among them Nairobi. The aim is to reduce human-to-human contact that leads to graft and inefficiency.

The Government has also set aside Ksh900 million in the current financial year for the ambitious digitalisation programme of the 39 land registrars for the next five years. The budget for the whole project is set at Ksh17 billion.

Prof Kaimenyi was addressing the press on the sidelines of opening an African regional conference on mapping of resources for development.

“Our Government is a digital government that is why we are giving this programme top priority,” the CS said.

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development has its headquarters in Nairobi’s Kasarani area and where it was established 52 years ago. It is a centre of excellence to avail to member-countries technical support, capacity development programmes and project implementation in the fields of geo-information and natural resource management.

The CS urged the 40 participants to establish secure and authentic land tenure systems, and also create robust national spatial data infrastructures and national land information management systems in their respective countries.

“These are platforms upon which our countries can make strategic informed development decisions, inspire investor confidence and engender harmonious co-existence of our peoples through sustainable land reforms,” Prof Kaimenyi said.

He identified some of the Government’s major achievements in the land sector in the past year as:

  • County maps of 23 out of the 47 counties have been updated.
  • The production of basic topographical maps at large scales of 1:10,000, 5,000 and 2,500 ongoing. Some 3,581 maps were sold from January 2017.
  • Land use and cover mapping of parts of Mombasa, Nyamira and Kilifi counties and aerial photography of Kisumu and Busia counties were completed to help them in the development of their respective county integrated development plans (CIDPs).
  • Mapping of mining sites was done in Migori, Kakamega, Taita-Taveta and Kwale counties.