We wish to inform you of a notice by the National Land Commission (the “Commission”) published in the Kenya Gazette on 17th July, 2017 (the “Gazette Notice”).
The functions of the Commission established under Article 67 of the Constitution are inter alia to manage public land on behalf of the national and county governments and to initiate investigations, on its own initiative or on a complaint, into present or historical land injustices, and recommend appropriate redress.
Section 14 of the National Land Commission Act, 2012 (the “Act”) required the Commission to review all grants or dispositions of public land to establish their propriety or legality, within five years of the commencement of the Act i.e. from 2nd May, 2012. Upon receipt of complaints from the national government, county governments, members of the public and also the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Commission exercised its powers under section 14 of the Act and undertook review of grants and dispositions (titles) of public land. We note from the Gazette Notice that the complaints ranged from encroachment, illegal/forceful occupation, irregular/illegal allocation or alienation of land.
In our assessment the review by the Commission covered the following:
a) the grants/titles in respect of land predominantly located in Nairobi County, Kilifi County, Kwale County, Mombasa County, Lamu County, Kakamega County, Machakos County, Nakuru County, Makueni County, Kisumu County, Uasin Gishu County, Kisii County, Nyamira County, Kiambu County, Embu County, Nyeri County and Kajiado County;
b) gazetted forests, that is, Karura Forest, Kibwezi Forest and Eldoret Arboretum (the “Gazetted Forests”); and
c) land reserved for county government housing.
After hearing the affected parties as required under section 14(4) of the Act, the Commission made either of the following determinations in respect of the grant/titles published in the Gazette Notice:
(i) revoking the grant/title;
(ii) regularizing or upholding the title;
(iii) regularizing subject to surrender of a portion as part of the transport corridor;
(iv) lifting of restrictions/caveats; or
(v) reverting land back to the county government.
With regard to the Gazetted Forests, all the grants/titles were either revoked or reverted back to the Kenya Forest Service.
We note that where there are pending court cases over the inspected land and where no interested party appeared before the Commission upon notices being issued under section 14(3) of the Act, the land has been marked as not cleared and interested parties are requested to appear before the Commission. There are also other instances where the Commission has determined that objection proceedings are required and the interested parties have been asked to appear before the Commission for such proceedings.
The Commission is obliged under section 14 (3) of the Act to notify all interested parties in respect of the grant or disposition concerned of the review exercise and to grant any interested party an opportunity to appear before the Commission to inspect any relevant documents. Accordingly, we urge you to review the Gazette Notice to confirm whether any land that you have an interest in is listed. If you were not summoned as required by law you may raise this with the Commission.
Where the Commission made a determination that the grant/title be revoked as indicated in (i) above, the Commission directed the Chief Land Registrar to revoke the grant/title as required under section 14(5) of the Act and any other attendant laws. The Act does not give timelines within which the Chief Land Registrar should effect this directive.