Mwea land Bill headed to MPs for discussion

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, who said the Bill was forwarded with amendments. [Photo, Standard]

A Bill seeking to have Mwea rice farmers granted conditional land ownership has been taken from the Senate back to the National Assembly.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said the Bill was forwarded with amendments that MPs would study before any conclusions could be drawn.

The Bill sponsored by Mwea MP Kabinga Wachira, wants farmers to be given sweeping powers and privileges, including managing the fees and levies they pay to the National Irrigation Board (NIB).

Mr Muturi said should MPs agree with the Senate amendments, the Bill would become law after getting the President's assent.

“But should MPs differ on the Senate amendments, then a mediation committee comprising members from the two Houses will sit and discus the Bill, after which they will either reject or pass it,” said the Speaker.

In the event the committee fails to agree, the Bill automatically dies and can only be re-introduced to Parliament after six months.

Mr Wachira said the Bill also aimed at ending land fragmentation in the rice-growing region.

“If we allow families to sell their land as they wish, this will affect rice production, thus wasting billions of shillings set aside to construct Thiba Dam," Wachira said.

The first-time legislator said the Mwea scheme was established in 1956, adding that because few pioneer farmers were still alive, children who inherited their land were more likely to sell the property.

Wachira said if the Bill was passed, the farmers would have increased roles to play at the expansive scheme under special committees to be elected by them while the NIB would continue providing managerial services.

He said the individual scheme management committees would be led by unit leaders who would alongside the irrigation board members.

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Mwea rice farmersNational AssemblySenate