SECURING LAND RIGHTS

Registration of community land on course — Karoney

The Act underscores the role of county governments in relation to unregistered community land.

In Summary

• The CS's assurance came amid claims in some quarters that community land was being registered for privatisation purposes.

• The Community Land Act was passed into law by Parliament in September 2016.

 

Sidi Kenga cannot hide her joy as she receives her title deed from Lands CS Farida Karoney and Nyali MP Mohammed Ali in Frere Town. Image: BRIAN OTIENO
GRATEFUL: Sidi Kenga cannot hide her joy as she receives her title deed from Lands CS Farida Karoney and Nyali MP Mohammed Ali in Frere Town. Image: BRIAN OTIENO

 

The registration of community land is on course, Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney has said.

Karoney's assurance on Tuesday came amid claims in some quarters that community land was being registered for privatisation purposes.

 

“Unregistered land accounts for nearly 70 per cent of the country’s total land mass. This is the reason the Community Land Act was passed into law by Parliament in September 2016.

"Regulations to implement the Act were formulated in November 2017 and approved by Parliament in June 2018,” the CS said in speech read on her behalf by Achar Truphosa, the Implementation of Community Land Act chairperson.

According to the Act, county governments will hold in trust all unregistered community land on behalf of the communities for which it is held.

Karoney was addressing a virtual meeting on Advancing Communal Land Tenure in the Context of Covid-19 Pandemic: A Case Study of Land Marginalised Communities in Kenya and Across Africa.

She said the general objective of the Community Land Act is to provide for the recognition, protection and registration of community land rights.

The Act also provides for the management and administration of community land. It sets out the role of county governments in relation to unregistered community land.

“There is a recognised link between secure land rights and a country’s growth and investment climate. Security of tenure is also important for social inclusion particularly for historically disadvantaged communities such as the pastoralists whose land has never been registered,” the CS said.

 

She noted that communities will have direct control over natural resources and a better bargaining position with investors if their land is registered.

The ministry, in consultation with the National Land Commission and support from the European Union/Food and Agriculture Organisation started the implementation of the Act in July, 2019.

Karoney said a joint working group on implementation of Community Land Act had come up with a work plan that contains 15 key activities pertinent to the actualisation of the Act.

She said governance structures and personnel been put in place for the Act's implementation.

Over 600 technical officers from both the Ministry and NLC have been trained  and are working closely with county governments and communities to actualise the Act. Community Land Registrars will be assigned in different counties. 

The working group has to date conducted public education in 23 out of 24 affected counties and related sub-counties.

Consultative forums have been held with the civil society organisations, professional bodies, relevant parliamentary and Senate committees.

Karoney said five out of the nine counties under the FAO Land Governance Programme "for attainment of Vision 2030" have submitted inventories of their respective community land ahead of the registration.

She said that Act recognises the importance of cooperation, consultation and collaboration among stakeholders in its implementation.

The CS said huge financial resources are required for the establishment of community land rights that entail registration of communities, demarcation and adjudication in the 24 counties.

This calls for a joint implementation strategy for better coordination, identification of critical activities and harnessing resources from both national and county governments, civil society organisations, UN agencies and other development partners.

NLC chair Gershom Otachi said 10.6 million acres in the country are classified as community land.

Otachi dismissed claims that community land was being privatised by being registered.

He said the Act says that county governments will hold in trust for a community any monies payable as compensation for compulsory acquisition of any unregistered community land.

Upon registration of community land, the respective county government will promptly release to the community all monies payable for compulsory acquisition.

Any such monies will be deposited in a special interest earning account by the county government, according to the Act.

 

 

- mwaniki fm