Nearly half of landowners in Kiambu and Kajiado are not in Government records, a report says.
The survey by the Land Development and Governance Institute (LDGI), dubbed ‘Status of Service Delivery in the Land Sector’, shows that 50 per cent of land owners in the two counties have mutations of land maps that are not updated.
These are maps which show how land was subdivided.
Speaking yesterday in Nairobi during the release of the report, LDGI Executive Director Mwenda Makathimo said the landowners could lose their property.
“Mutations are not official maps that reflect the true status of land as contained in Government offices. They are working documents used by surveyors in land transactions,” said Dr Makathimo.
“What this means is that you could be owning a genuine title of, say, a five-acre piece of land. But when you present the mutation to a bank or a land registry, you find that the original land has been sold to other people.”
The survey that was carried out between October 29 and November 14 last year, notes that the problem is also prevalent in Nakuru, Mombasa, Kwale, Kisii and other urban centres.
But it is worse in Kiambu and Kajiado because of the many land-buying companies in those counties, and the high rate of land subdivision for development.
“We carried out the survey in 29 counties and established that although the situation is grave in Kiambu and Kajiado, it is also rampant in Naivasha, Nakuru County, Mombasa, Kwale, Kisii and all the other urban centres,” said Makathimo.
LDGI’s chairman Ibrahim Mwathane said the problem worsened d by quack surveyors who want to rob people.
“There is need for the Land ministry to enable Kenyans differentiate between genuine and fake surveyors,” said Mr Mwathane.
The survey also sought to gauge public perception with regard to how it understands the processes of land transactions.
These include cost of transacting, levels of corruption, security of title deeds, effectiveness of online system and awareness of the Community Land Act (CLA).
According to the survey, 64 per cent of those interviewed felt that the cost of services at the lands department is affordable.
But they placed a caveat and said sometimes this was inflamed by other costs such as being asked to make repeat visits to the offices, which requires money for one’s fare.
Corruption was another issue with 28 per cent of respondents saying it was high in the land offices.
“Corruption indicators include missing documents, requests for money to fuel Government vehicles and the use of broker services,” said Makathimo.
“There seems to be an understanding between brokers and public employees that make brokers so bold in their dealings. You can’t get a service without them in some offices.”
The survey also notes that 33 per cent of respondents said they had no access to information related to land operations. Another 94 per cent do not know that the Community Land Act exists, while 81 per cent do not know of its contents.
“This is serious because community land accounts for over 60 per cent of Kenya’s stock of land,” said Mwathane.