The behind-the-scenes differences between the Ministry of Lands and the National Land Commission over their functions came to the fore when their top officials appeared before a Senate committee yesterday.
Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu and NLC chairman Mohamed Swazuri differed before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Land and Natural Resources over who had the sole mandate to issue title deeds.
Mrs Ngilu said the commission enjoyed advisory roles on land matters as delegated by the national government.
Dr Swazuri disagreed, saying his team had authority over allocation of public land.
“The commission does not have the legal mandate to sign title deeds. This is the work of the Lands ministry,” the minister told the committee chaired by Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti.
Mrs Ngilu defended her appointment of Mr Peter Kahuho as the acting Director-General of Lands, saying she did not want to leave a vacuum at a time when demand for the documents was high.
She said the commission was aware of the appointment and even facilitated its gazettement.
But Dr Swazuri denied reaching consensus over the appointment.
“We manage a land register. The National Land Commission Act says that the title deeds shall bear the seal from the commission. This implies we are the ones responsible for authenticating the documents and signing them,” said Dr Swazuri.