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Kaimenyi reassures land owners on validity of titles issued since 2013

By Graham Kajilwa | January 19th 2017
Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi. (Photo: Boniface Okendo/Standard)

The Government has reassured land owners of the validity of title deeds given under the Jubilee administration following a High Court judgement that they were issued irregularly.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi also announced a plan to comply with a subsequent order that gave the ministry 12 months to realign its land registration processes with the new Act of 2016.

Prof Kaimenyi announced the appointment of a special task force comprising members from the National Land Commission (NLC) who now have two months to complete the exercise.

“As rightly directed by the court in its judgement that the orders shall not operate retroactively, grants, leases and certificates of titles that have been registered and issued by the ministry since 2013 are legal, valid and legitimate,” said Kaimenyi.

A ruling by Justice Joseph Onguto on December 19, 2016, faulted the ministry for issuing three million titles on grounds that there was no input from NLC and that the regulations were yet to be approved by Parliament hence a declaration that the processed documents were unconstitutional and illegal.

“A declaration is hereby issued that the registration forms as well as forms of titles including leases, title deeds, grants and certificate of title or of lease made and promulgated by the Cabinet minister without the advice or input of the NLC and without the necessary public participation and/or parliamentary approval and scrutiny are unconstitutional, null and void,” read the judgement.

Onguto however suspended the declaration of invalidity to enable the CS to initiate meaningful engagement with the public and seek NLC’s input.

Grace period

“That considering the immediate consequences of the above declaration on registration of the titles currently ongoing, the declaration of their invalidity is suspended to enable the CS seek and take into account advice of the NLC,” read the ruling.

Wednesday, Kaimenyi said he has already gazetted a task force through a Kenya Gazette notice dated January 13, 2017, to conduct the re-aligning “with strict instructions to complete the exercise within two months.”

“Within this time, the public and all stakeholders will be invited to make their contribution towards the process,” he added.

And to ensure inclusivity, the CS disclosed that the task force members were drawn from the Lands ministry, Kenya Law Reform Commission and State Law office.

Other members are the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya, Nairobi County government and Law Society of Kenya.

“The ministry’s focus is to ensure that the draft regulations are completed and submitted to Parliament for approval within the period granted by the court,” Kaimenyi said.

He assured the public that the High Court order would be complied with before the 12-month deadline and there should be no panic.

“People are encouraged to continue carrying out their respective land transactions without fear or doubt regarding the ownership documents they hold,” he said.

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