policy long overdue
The National Land Policy
Formulation Process Steering Committee will start collecting views from the
public in Mombasa next week. Its mandate is to collate public impressions to
help the Government to formulate a sustainable national land policy.
Lands minister Amos Kimunya
acknowledged this week that this will be a daunting task given the emotive
nature of land issues. His assurance that the policy formulation process would
be sensitive to the social, political and economic implications of land will
not mean much to the multitudes who have given their views to similar
committees in the past.
The process of formulating a land
policy comes at a time when the country is faced with many challenges, ranging
from historic displacements, conflicts between human settlements and
conservation to encroachment on riparian and other water catchments.
These issues were addressed during
the consultations of the Kenya Constitutional Review Commission (CKRC), the
Commission of Inquiry into the Land Law System of Kenya 2002 (the Njonjo
Report) and the Irregular Allocation of Public Land 2004 (the Ndung'u Report).
These reports have recommended that the Government depoliticise the allocation
of public land.
Following the Narc Government's
revocation of irregularly issued title deeds, respect for the sanctity of the
title deed as a symbol of legitimate ownership has come under scrutiny.
These are probably some of the
issues that will come up during the land policy formulation process.
But the Government must stop the
business of talking. It must speedily work towards presenting a policy paper
in Parliament for discussion and adoption to give the country a clear
framework for dealing with issues of land allocation and ownership. Among
others, this will end cases of whimsical directives by politicians on land