LSK to hold protest against delays in land registries

Says its eight branches will hold a peaceful protest march on January 20 against the alleged inefficiencies.

In Summary

• The National Land Information Management System, known as Ardhi Sasa, was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 27, 2021.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta during the launch of Ardhi Sasa platform.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta during the launch of Ardhi Sasa platform.
Image: FILE

The Law Society of Kenya on Monday raised concerns over alleged delays, inefficiencies and collapse of services in land registries across the country.

It said land reforms through digitisation have failed to improve service delivery.

The society said its eight branches will hold a peaceful protest march on January 20 against the alleged inefficiencies.

“Members of the public are invited to join. The route and details will be shared,” LSK said.

On Tuesday, LSK president Eric Theuri told the Star on the phone that challenges were being experienced in many registries, especially in Nairobi.

“Search cannot be done. All transactions begin and end in a search. Banks cannot charge a property unless it confirms the owner,” he said.

Theuri said the challenges being experienced have affected timelines that had been given by the ministry.

“You can’t wait for three to four months for registration,” he said.

Theuri said the ministry had made some recommendations that are yet to be implemented.

Officials from the Lands ministry could not be reached for comment.

The National Land Information Management System, known as Ardhi Sasa, was launched by former President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 27, 2021.

The system is a digital land resource management platform designed to enhance the security of land records, speed up transactions and curb fraud.

Through the system, users can lodge and track the progress of their transactions without having to visit ministry offices.

The platform aims to address historical injustices and curb fraud, corruption and manipulation of land records.

In February 2022, former Lands CS Farida Karoney called for patience after LSK and Surveyors of Kenya decried the slow pace of implementation.

Karoney then said that Nairobi City County was a registration unit with two registries.

“There is a registry called the Nairobi registry itself, and the Central registry. When we brought the National Land Information Management System live on April 27, what we did was we took the Nairobi registry live. The Central registry even as I speak, is still 100 per cent manual, and it is only now that we want to start taking it digital,” Karoney said.

The former CS said they first wanted to pilot one registry as they did not want to multiply the problem as this was a new platform that they were implementing and they were not sure how it was going to pan out.

Karoney said the Nairobi registry, which is live, had 87,000 titles.

The Central registry, which the ministry was then processing to take live, had 165,000 titles.

Karoney said there was another set of titles called GNA that were registered under the Government Land Act.

“These were lands with about 32,000 or thereabout titles that are being processed for digitisation,” she said.

Karoney said the ministry was then doing document verification, adding that the Central registry was not live for two reasons.

“First is the process of conversion. Conversion is basically migrating to the Land Registration Act of 2012. Because this registry has different regimes, there is Cap 300, Cap 280, and Cap 281. There is another one called the Indian Transfer of Property Act that is more than 100 years," she said.

"We have been gazzeting parcels of land that we are converting. The law allows us 90 days for conversions, as in I publish the conversion list and have to wait 90 days before I can transact on that parcel.”

Karoney said the logic of the law was that if as a landowner one has an issue, he or she can raise it within 90 days and it can be corrected to allow transactions to take place.

She said some of the titles that were not live meant that the documentation for some of them was incomplete.

By being incomplete, it means it can be missing something, such as a green card, PDP or survey plan, or some document of some sort.

"The second reason it will not be there is that on our records from the history of the land, it was public land but somehow, a private citizen has a title to it," she said.

In the 2022-23 financial year, the National Treasury allocated Sh769 million for the digitisation of land registries.

Some Sh1.1 billion was allocated for the processing and registration of title deeds and Sh130 million for the development of land registries.

The state then said more than 5.3 million title deeds had been issued over the last eight years to strengthen land and property ownership.

During 2022-23 financial year, the state allocated Sh15.6 billion to fund initiatives in the ICT sector.

The allocation includes Sh620 million for government-shared services.

Treasury projects total revenue collection, including appropriation-in-aid and grants for 2022-23 budgets to be Sh2.4 trillion, equivalent to 17.5 per cent of GDP.

Of this, ordinary revenue is projected at Sh2.14 trillion, equivalent to 15.3 per cent of GDP.

By April last year, the government had announced that it had fully digitised land records in Nairobi under the National Land Information Management System (ArdhiSasa) programme.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star