CLEANING THE MESS

New Ardhi Sasa system: What it means for you

President launches new system to end land fraud, new system replaces human interactions and the human hand as much as possible

In Summary

• At the click of a button, citizens will carry out land transactions online, drastically reducing human interactions, delays and other inconveniences and possibilities of fraud. 

• The ministry will digitise land records, streamline land transactions and ownership.

President Uhuru Kenyatta during the launch of Ardhi Sasa platform
President Uhuru Kenyatta during the launch of Ardhi Sasa platform

You will no longer need to go all the way to Ardhi House, Nairobi, or queue for  hours to get services or carry out land transactions. And you won't have to worry you're being cheated.

The National Land Information Management System, known as Ardhi Sasa, was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday.

It is operational in Nairobi and will be expanded countrywide. 

It will limit or remove the human element and interaction as much as possible and frustrate land cartels.

It will make life easier for landowners and buyers who endure frustrations at land offices countrywide.

Under the new system, a Kenyan can search for land transactions, transfers and registrations in the comfort of her or his home.

At the click of a button, citizens will carry out online transactions, drastically reducing human interactions—a frequent source of fraud and a definite cause of delays and inconveniences.

The system will require the Lands ministry to digitise land records, streamlining records of transactions and ownership.

This will eliminate fraud, corruption and manipulation of critical land records. Long queues at the registries will also be a thing of the past.

It will resolve land problems as it will provide an updated, verified database of land records that are easily available

The President said with the new system, all the ills will be curbed and the sanctity of land titles restored.

“The system will resolve the land problem as it will provide an updated, verified database of land records that are easily available,” President Kenyatta said.

He added, “The system will ensure investors and those dealing with land are not confronted with warning signs such as 'Plot not for sale', 'danger' and 'Trespassers' will be prosecuted."

Challenges noticed in the ministry such as double registration and double allocation will also be eliminated as records will be cleaned.

Since Independence, land has been an emotive matter, owing to historical injustices, fraud and the manipulation of land documents at Ardhi House.

So, what does it mean for you? How will it affect services at Ardhi House? And will you still have to be present for services.

The new system is part of the reforms in the lands sector that has been riddled with corruption. It requires migrating all parcels to one regime, the Registry  Index Maps (Rims).

Rims will replace deed plans as registration instruments for land. The deed plans have been prone to manipulation

"All this will ensure uniformity of land ownership in Kenya and minimise fraud," Lands CS Farida Karoney said during the launch. .

The conversion will enhance security of land records, speed up land transactions, and minimise fraud and corruption that have pervaded land offices.

In what will speed up transactions, the conversion services will be decentralised to the regions as there will be migration of registers and files to county registries.

The ministry started digitisation process in January in Nairobi and aims to for the rest of the country to be digitised by December 2022.

HOW CONVERSION WORKS

First, the Lands ministry must prepare cadastral maps and the conversion list indicating new and old numbers for parcels of land within a registration unit and their corresponding acreages.

Cadastral maps are large-scale maps showing the boundaries of subdivisions of land. They usually contain directions and dimensions and the areas of individual tracts. They are compiled to describe and record ownership in detail.

Then, the ministry publishes he cadastral maps, together with a conversion list before allowing aggrieved parties to lodge complaints.

The complaint is submitted in writing to the registrar and refers to information contained in the conversion list and the cadastral maps. The law requires a registrar to resolve complaints within 90 days.

The ministry will then close old registers and begin all transactions in the new register. The public will  apply for replacement of title documents from the old registers.

During application, a land owner will be required to present an application to the registrar and attach the original title and copies of their identification documents.

The entire process is free. 

The conversion of the deed plans does not interfere with boundaries as Rims are generated from existing survey plans. The survey maps are available on request.

The conversion process does not affect ownership. Your title will be replaced with a title under the Land Registration Act, 2012.

The old title will be cancelled and placed in the safe custody by the registrar.

When your title is being held by a third party, say, a bank, then you will be required to apply for a conversion of your title where you have used your title as security.

However, you will have to liaise with the third party to facilitate the replacement process. The conversion process does not involve changes in ownership.

(Edited by V. Graham)