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Workshop for County Assembly Members on Land Laws

by Jane Murutu

23rd-24th of January in Kitale

The issue of land, its ownership, use and management is a highly emotive one in Kenya and was one of the key issues that drove the need for a new constitution. Following lengthy deliberations and a comprehensive public participation process, a new constitution was promulgated on 27th of August 2010. The Constitution sets out principles governing land and also requires all laws relating to land to be revised, consolidated and rationalized within certain timelines.

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Parliament passed three bills related to land on 25th and 26th of April 2012. The President assented to the bills immediately and the new land laws became effective on 2nd May 2012. The new land laws are:

  • The National Land Commission Act, 2012;
  • The Land Registration Act, 2012; and
  • The Land Act, 2012.

Kenya Land Alliance, (KLA) a leading Civil Society Organization in the Land sector was engaged by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, to facilitate a two days workshop on land laws for the members of Trans Nzoia County Assembly and key stakeholders.This workshop was graced by the Deputy Governor, County Government of Trans-Nzoia, Dr. Stanley Kenei Tarus.

On the first day three areas were covered. The first topic dealt with the background & context of constitutional provisions on land & the successive legislations to create an understanding of why Kenya needed land reforms and the achievements attained to date. The second topic was on the role of county government in management and administration of public land. This entailed looking at the transfer of functions in the devolved context and the relationship between the county government and other key land governance institutions such as the National Land Commission, County Land Management Board and the Ministry of Lands. The third topic looked into the review of irregular and illegal disposition of public land and the opportunities that exist to claim and regularize what was initially tainted with illegality and/or irregularity as well as the necessary preparations of putting together evidence for presentation at the commencement of the process.

A presentation on the key provision of the draft community land bill was done on the second day to give a sense of direction on management of community land and its governance structure and the role of various players. The second topic was focused on resolution of historical land injustices through resettlement, restitution or resettlement details which are to be outlined in the legislation to be formulated in the 15 Months. The last presentation looked at the gender aspect in access, ownership and control of land. The discussions referred to the international treaties Kenya has ratified, and the Constitution of Kenya that has embraced principles of gender equity which are replicated in the subsequent legislations and the land governance institutions.

From experience and observations drawn from the two days’ workshop KLA and KAS recommends:

  • The existing knowledge gap among stakeholders requires continuous civic education for the stakeholders to engage in land reform implementation process effectively as well as to hold relevant institutions accountable for delivery of services and abuse of office which will eventually enhance democracy and good governance.
  • To reinforce civic education Information, Educational and Communication materials should be developed for stakeholders to understand the roles of each institutions and different processes in a simplified language.

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