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Lands CS seeks support to produce 100,000 titles yearly

COUNTIES
By Cyrus Ombati | June 27th 2014

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu has met more than 300 county land officials and urged them to support her efforts to streamline operations at the ministry.

Speaking during the meeting held at the Kenya Institute of Survey and Mapping in Nairobi on Wednesday, Mrs Ngilu said brokers and land-buying firms were the biggest threat to land reforms, and warned that their days are numbered.

"We must do away with them (brokers) so that people can easily do land transactions within the shortest time possible. This is possible with your support," she said.

Those in attendance included district land registrars and land adjudication and settlement officials. She claimed  services had improved since she initiated the reforms a month ago.

However, a section of the National Land Commission (NLC) protested the summoning of the officials without their involvement.

The officials, who asked not to be named, said Land Adjudication and Settlement is a function of NLC.

Insiders said the meeting discussed how the ministry can produce up to 100,000 title deeds a year. 

LEGAL OPINION

Ngilu and the commission have been at loggerheads over the management of land issues. The commission has lodged a case at the Supreme Court for an opinion on its mandate and that of the minister.

"We are wondering why we were not invited to the meeting yet we are key stakeholders on matters of land in this country," an NLC official said.

Reached for comment, NLC Chairman Mohamed Swazuri said he heard of the meeting as it was going on.

The development is the latest in a stand-off between the minister and the commission over who should be in charge of crucial matters in the docket.

Experts say the ongoing conflict  is causing huge economic losses to the public.

The experts say despite the fact that a task force to develop land regulations had been gazetted two years ago, the Government has failed to develop regulations to operationalise the National Land Commission Act 2012,  and the Land Registration Act, 2012. 

POWER TUSSLE

The power tussle between the two started last October after Ngilu transferred gazetted officers — former Commissioner of Lands Zablon Mabea, Chief Lands Registrar Wambugu Ngatia and Director of Survey Euphantus Murage — a role Swazuri felt was not hers.

A number of amendments that have been termed unconstitutional have been lined up that could cripple the operations of the commission.

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