A month after the exit of the inaugural National Land Commission (NLC) team, the government is yet to start the process of recruiting a new team.
The six-year term of the previous commissioners expired on February 19, but the State is yet to put in motion the legal process to recruit a successor commission.
Business in the land sector is in a state of abeyance as many critical transactions require NLC input.
Without the commissioners and an executive chairman, the NLC secretariat remains rudderless as it cannot transact much business.
Ongoing national infrastructural development projects remain in a state of uncertainty as the NLC is the main agency charged with land acquisition and compensation, in addition to handling disputes in and out of courts.
Players fault the Office of the President, which has already burst the legal timelines by failing to set up a recruitment panel within 14 days after exit of the first group of officials.
The panel is charged with inviting and processing applications from qualified persons and preparing a shortlist for vetting by the National Assembly in readiness for appointment of the successful applicants by the President.
The National Land Commission Act (2012) provides for the process that should take a total of 77 days barring any hiccups and delays.
Within seven days of establishment, the recruitment panel is expected to convene a meeting to call for applications from qualified persons, a process that should take 21 days.
After the expiry of the 21 days, the panel should process the applications and prepare a shortlist for interviews, and submit a list of successful candidates to the President.
From the list, the President is expected to nominate a chairman and commissioners and cascade the list to the National Assembly for vetting within 14 days.
The National Assembly is mandated to vet, approve or reject the entire list or part of it, and in 21 days recommend the successful nominees to the President for appointment through an official government gazette notice.
Mr Abraham Samoei, the chairman of the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK), said the President was in breach of the law as he had fallen behind the prescribed timelines for setting up the recruitment panel.
“Three months before the expiry of the previous NLC’s term of office, the head of public service sent invitations to institutions that are mandated by law to submit nominees to constitute the recruitment panel, and which we did late last year, but no action has been taken yet,” he said.
The entities include the ISK, the Law Society of Kenya, Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the Association of the Professional Societies of East Africa.
Mr Samoei said the situation was causing anxiety as every day of inaction meant missed expectations in service delivery by citizens, and lost commercial and economic transactions.
“The central functions of NLC in moving economic and investment decisions and transactions make it urgent to expedite the process without unnecessary delay. The ISK leadership will be making an official statement on the professionals’ view on this matter,” Mr Samoei said.
Mrs Jane Kihara, a member of the Lands Commitee in the National Assembly, said MPs had indicated the concerns on the delays to the Executive.