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‘Long lunch breaks hurting services in lands offices’

By Mwaghesha Mkala | Mar 3rd 2016 | 3 min read
By Mwaghesha Mkala | March 3rd 2016

Kenyans seeking services at Lands offices across the country are still getting frustrated, with the ministry and relevant authorities not making an effort to make matters easier.

According to a report released last week by the Land Development and Governance Institute (LDGI) in Nairobi, the ministry has also failed to embrace the changing times by adopting modern technology and administrative procedures to improve service delivery.

“While stakeholders and service seeking Kenyans appreciate that challenges like staff recruitment and rationalisation, reorganisation of land registries, computerisation of records and processes require time and major resources, they observe that there are short-term and inexpensive administrative interventions that could greatly improve service delivery and reduce ‘rent seeking’,” said Ibrahim Mwathane, chairman of the institute.


“While we have made strides as a nation in terms of land reforms which include the formulation of a national land policy, the anchoring of key policy principles in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the enactment of basic laws, Kenyans still decry frustrations, delays and soliciting from officials when it comes to seeking services,” he noted.

With the Supreme Court making a substantial ruling late last year that sought to put a clear line between the mandate of the Muhammad Swazuri-led National Land Commission (NLC) and the Lands Ministry, the conflicts that kept on arising are now a thing of the past. According to LDGI, the ruling a positive move for service delivery in the sector.

“In all honesty, if the ministry and other land institutions mandated with service delivery were serious, all they need to do is simple: provide fully-manned customer care desks to create order and expedite services. Also, eliminate brokers by among other measures, providing staff identity,” he said.

Before she was suspended and later replaced over corruption allegations, former Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu had admitted that there were too many brokers in her ministry.

Work ethic

“There should be accountability by officers in charge. Incidents of reporting to work late, leaving early, long lunch breaks and absence from offices by staff have been cited during the LDGI surveys,” added Mwathane, explaining that sporadic inspection visits by senior officials could also go a long way in making sure the ministry’s staff adhere to service charter.

“These measures are very simple and inexpensive to carry out. For example, how come there is lack of stationery in Lands offices? Doesn’t the ministry have records of how much stationery is used per year in the whole country?” he wondered.

He said the ministry should review its stationery consumption volumes and publication mechanism to ensure that offices at the national and county levels have regular and sufficient supply of official stationery at all times.

“The institute calls upon the Lands Cabinet Secretary and the chair of the NLC to note and implement the simple measures above to ensure that Kenyans begin to feel and appreciate positive changes at their level,” said Mwathane. 

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