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Title deeds issuance to resume after Covid-19 restrictions

Sunday June 14 2020
karoney

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By IBRAHIM ORUKO

The issuance of title deeds will resume immediately the Ministry of Health lifts restrictions on the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has announced.

Lands CS Farida Karoney said her ministry is ready to proceed with the exercise once the Health minister gives the greenlight.

“The exercise will resume once the Ministry of Health gives protocols on how outdoor events should be conducted,” the CS told the Nation in an interview.

Between January and February 2020, President Kenyatta issued close to 100,000 title deeds to the Nyandarua colonial village, Nairobi’s Eastlands area, and to the descendants of Nyakinyua from Kiambogo, Njoro, and Solai areas.

TITLE DEEDS

The ministry had planned to issue 450,000 title deeds this financial year, but the Covid-19 outbreak prompted the postponement of similar events across the country.

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As of last April, 388,000 title deeds had been issued, while the remaining 62,000 are ready.

The ministry plans to issue another 450,000 title deeds between July and June 2021 with the targeted recipients being informal settlements, land buying companies, public institutions, settlement schemes and leases.

Ms Karoney says her ministry is also in the process of deploying a digital land register to protect the gains made by President Kenyatta’s administration.

Building a secure digital land information system creates a hermetic seal on the online land registry system to ward off fraudsters.

LEGACY AGENDA

The reforms have also been captured in the report of the Building Bridges Initiative launched at the Bomas of Kenya last November as President Kenyatta moves to have them enshrined in the Constitution and to form part of his legacy agenda.

The proposals in the report include digitisation of land buying and selling as a way of protecting genuine buyers and sellers from fraudsters, and ending corruption in the sector.

The report calls for mapping and publicising of all government-owned land open for commercial leasing under simple and enforceable terms and increased access to land for commercial investment by young people and entrepreneurs through the “formulation of a legal regime that enables investment through a clear and implementable agreement between landowners, workers, and financiers.”

To achieve this, the report proposes “simple, clear, and affordable legal safeguards for the landowner, the entrepreneur, and the investor, and the digitisation of land ownership and improved public access of the database”.

It also called for enforcement of stringent measures and policies to end corruption at land boards, land registries, county councils, and in all land-handling institutions.

SACRED EMBLEM

In his Madaraka Day speech, the President outlined the gains he had made in reforming the land sector in what appeared to be a comparative assessment of his titling programme that has seen over 4.5 million deeds issued in the last seven years.

“A critical motivation for waging the war of liberation against colonial rule was land. Regaining our land from the colonial masters and laying a personal claim to it was a motivation for the struggle.

That is why the “title deed” became a sacred emblem to majority Kenyans. It is a token earned from a struggle of sorts.”

The President said six million title deeds were issued between 1963 and 2013, but an additional 4.5 million title deeds have been issued during his seven-year rule.

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