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President Ruto slashes NLC powers on compensation


President William Ruto during an interdenominational service at Isiolo Boys' High School on Sunday, May 21, 2023. [PCU]

President William Ruto has announced that the National Land Commission (NLC) will no longer deal with land valuation for compensation over government projects.

Speaking in Isiolo Boys High School where he attended an interdenominational service accompanied by his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua President Ruto said his government was committed to fighting graft and this was one step towards his agenda.

"I have already issued directives that the NLC will not be involved in the valuation of compensation; that is the work of the Ministry of Lands," he said.

President Ruto said the Ministry of Lands will deal with valuation and compensation to ensure that each Kenyan is paid fair price for their land.

"I want to make it very clear to the NLC, they have become a marketplace where people walk in pay a small amount of money so that land worth Sh100,000 is valued at Sh1Million and that must stop," he said.

He said Kenyans were complaining that land compensation was riddled with inconsistencies.

"The law is very clear everybody must be treated equally and therefore going forward it is not possible for NLC to decide where the compensation is going to take place, who will benefit and how much it is going to be paid. The roles must be separated for accountability, so that NLC can do its work while Ministry which has the capacity can also do their work," he warned.

On local conflicts between the local communities and Kenya Defence Forces that are stationed in Isiolo for training exercises, the President said he had asked for 30 surveyors to conduct proper survey of land belonging to the community and KDF.

"We are going to have a distinct boundary on land belonging to KDF and the community to put an end to the tension between our people and the KDF, I have instructed the CS Defence, and CDF to address this issue as soon as possible," he said.

He defended the Finance Bill 2023 proposal to impose a three percent housing levy on Kenyans in formal employment.

The President said the proposals in the Finance Bill would support in creating jobs for Kenyans.

"We have over 5million Kenyans who are unemployed and we must ensure that we create jobs for these people if we are to progress as a nation," he said.

The President said the housing levy would lead directly create employment for 1Million youth across the country and was necessary first step to address the issue.

"I have heard what you are asking about why you should contribute to the housing levy, but Kenyans should take collective responsibility for this national project as it is going to benefit all of us," he said.

He noted the government must have a deliberate, and coherent plan to create jobs and therefore plans were underway to ensure the ICT hubs in constituencies were working.

"On Tuesday I will be sitting down with the MPs to see how they can revive and improve the digital hubs to create online jobs in every ward for our youth in the grassroots," he said.

The President said, his government would also work with counties to ensure each county had a agricultural and industrial park to offer agro processing opportunities for Kenyans.

"Farmers but add value to their crops, and these industrial and agro processing parks in the counties will act as a way to improve earnings and market goods," he said.

Also in the meeting were Isiolo Governor Abdi Guyo counterpart Marsabit Governor Moohamud Ali, Cabinet Secretary Defence Aden Duale, and a host of other leaders.

Defence CS Duale called for unity across all communities in North Eastern and avoid division along the political party and ethnic lines.

"As a community we must fix security and we cannot ignore the contribution of the pastoralists to this country," he said.

He addressed concerns from local leaders on the tensions between local communities and KDF that train in the arid and semi-arid region.

"I can tell you that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces is the President and I am just a CS my job is to do as I am told, we shall address your concerns," he said.

Duale said that Isiolo hosts the largest number of Kenya's Defence forces training camps for the best artillery and infantry officers.

"We shall work to resolve any conflicts that may have arisen between KDF and the community as directed by the President," he said.

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