Land Ministry may limit officers' tenure at stations

Monday March 7 2016

Land Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi inspects the Meru lands registry offices on March 7 2016.

Land Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi inspects the Meru lands registry offices on March 7 2016. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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The Land Cabinet secretary has said the ministry will limit the tenure of land officers at a given station so as to promote efficiency in resolving land issues.

Prof Jacob Kaimenyi said title processing takes too long, with many landowners being told that their title deeds cannot be traced. This, he said, is code for "I want a bribe".

“We will come up with stronger policies and systems to rotate workers from one station to another. We cannot have an officer serving in one county for more than 10 years. Some of them are becoming impossible,” he said, at the start of a three-day tour of Meru and Tharaka-Nithi counties, where he will issue title deeds.

He further observed that a majority of processed title deeds remain uncollected.

Prof Kaimenyi accused some politicians of spreading lies regarding the legality of the documents to gain political mileage. Others remain uncollected because of family conflicts.

He asked landowners to ignore the lies discrediting his ministry.

“Out of the 70,000 title deeds issued in Tigania in Meru last year, only 5,000 have been collected. It is very unfortunate because the deeds comply with the law. We have to sensitise Kenyans on the importance of collecting these important documents,” he said, adding that "land is very emotive and we must be seen to be doing something”.

Prof Kaimenyi spoke during a courtesy call on County Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga and Deputy Governor Raphael Muriungi in Meru.

Additionally, the CS did not rule out deep-rooted graft in the ministry, saying he was aware of corrupt networks who fanned fictitious land transactions that often saw genuine landowners mysteriously lose their title deeds and other key documents.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi (second left) flanked by Imenti South MP Kathuri Murungi talks to staff during a tour of the Meru lands registry offices on March 7 2016. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi (second left), flanked by Imenti South MP Kathuri Murungi, talks to staff during a tour of the Meru land registry offices on March 7 2016. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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He was responding to claims by North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood that some senior officers were blocking the transfer of a “corrupt” senior land

Mr Dawood also blamed constant frustrations from county government departments and regulators in titling of land.

Land Principal Secretary Mariam El Maawy said Meru leads in titling in the country.

“Out of the targeted 200,000 title deeds to be issued in Meru, 155,000 have been issued. We are way above the target. However, the collection is still low,” she said.

National Land Commission vice-chairperson Abigael Mbagaya asked those involved in land disputes to seek alternative methods of resolving them.

She said the benefits of alternative systems included speedy resolution of disputes and lower costs.