Assessing the Effectiveness of the National Land Commision in Addressing Irregular and Illegal Allocation of Land in Kenya
Irregular and Illegal allocation of land is a major component of the land question is in Kenya. The land question is a major rhetoric as it is not one issue but a myriad of issues entrenched in archaic, pre colonial administrative methods and systems which led to lack of transparency and abuse of high held offices in the self interest of individuals as pertaining to land. The targets for fulfilling such self interests were public land and land that could not be acknowledged by law for the simple and erroneous fact that the law did not allow for the means of acknowledgment by affording the custodians of such land the luxury of registration. Indeed the effects of such systems were to be felt decades later and brought out in broad daylight by such painful happenstance as the post election violence of 2007. Many stakeholders championed the land reforms as the answer to the land question. The issues needed addressing and the national land policy was birthed, intricately identifying and detailing the issues marring the then land regime and recommending curative measures. The Constitution of Kenya promulgated in 2010 embedded the core values of the land policy giving the government the mandate to see to it that land in Kenya is managed in a manner that is equitable, efficient, productive and sustainable. Different laws were therefore enacted and the land regime equipped with the institutional capacity to see this through. The National Land Commission was the ‘saviour’ institution. This study has a general objective of assessing the effectiveness of the National Land Commission in addressing illegal/irregular land allocations in Kenya. The specific objectives include establishing the extent to which the commission has managed to deal with illegal/irregular land allocations four years since its inception and the forms of such allocations while detailing the challenges it faces. The study also reviewed the current laws relating to illegal/irregular land allocations. The research methodology involved the use of qualitative and quantitative data with desktop research taking the bulk of the data supplemented with interviews conducted on Ministry of Land officers from the relevant departments that deal with allocation of land. The study found that there exists a Constitutional and legislative framework that is ill-prepared to curb illegal and irregular land allocations; lack of a critical mass of political goodwill and the obscure mandate of the National Land Commission; and, the capacity of the National Land Commission to investigate historical land injustices having been tied to Parliament’s legislative discretion and political whims.It therefore recommended the establishment of a fund account for the National Land Commission as well as a raft of Constitutional and legislative amendments, not only to reinforce National Land Commission’s institutional capacity to address the problem, but also to expand its scope to cover the management of community land. It also recommended speedy digitization of land records.
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