Mudavadi asks judges to speed up land cases to unlock Sh100b

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi. [File, Standard]

Environment and Land Court judges have been urged to speed up property cases to unlock more than Sh100 billion in resources and investments held up due to delays.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi said the delays at the lands registry have hurt investments.

Mudavadi was addressing ELC judges during the 10th anniversary of the ELC at Pwani University, Kilifi county.

"As you deliberate in this conference, look at the areas you can improve on to unlock the Sh100 billion worth of resources."

Mudavadi asked the judges to check if they are individually to blame for the delays. The Prime CS also read a speech by President William Ruto, who pledged to enhance financial support to set up more courts.

Better facilities in every county will support sustainable access to land and environmental justice, the president said.

"Land and environment governance is a domain characterised by tensions that must be resolved to accommodate our aspirations for development and concern for ecological integrity," Ruto said.

He went on: "Land and environmental practices are also expressions of communal and cultural identity and the relationship between modern science and indigenous knowledge systems in conserving biodiversity whilst actualising economic growth."

Ruto said natural resources are vital for human well-being as well as economic growth.

"In Africa, the legal system pertaining to land and natural resources has overwhelmingly tended to reflect exclusive and unlimited access by powerful groups accompanied by marginalisation of a subordinated majority."

The president said digitisation of land records will present fresh opportunities to accelerate land justice.

Ruto added that the institutional framework around land and environmental resources has traditionally been characterised by coloniality, even after independence.

He said land is a key driver of poverty and inequality. The president called on the Judiciary to consider the adequacy of public participation and access to justice in land and environmental matters.

Chief Justice Martha Koome said the Judiciary will establish a land court in every sub-county to ease the burden of litigants from rural areas.

"We will work with the county governments to ensure we establish a court. We will start by putting up a court in Mtwapa and in every sub-county," she said.

Koome added that the ELC is leading the way in ensuring the integration and balancing of environmental, social, and economic considerations in decision-making.

The CJ said ELC has made recommendable strides since its inception in 2010 with only 15 judges.