Land Development and Governance Institute remains committed to its vision of promoting the application of appropriate policies, laws and management practices. In line with this the Institute held an Experts' Forum to review the Maximum and Minimum Land Holding Acreage Bill, 2015 with regard to possible areas of conflict and accordance to the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. The forum took placeat Sarova Panafric Hotel on the 23rd July 2015,bringing together various stakeholders in the land sector to obtain views on the Minimum and Maximum Land Holding acreage Bill, 2015. An audit of the proposed amendments to the Land Act, 2012, National Land Commission Act 2012, Land Registration Act 2012 was also carried out. Professionals from Real Estate, Land economists, Survey, Planning, Soil Science, Law, Agriculture, Private sector, Valuersand other professional bodiesgot an opportunity to analyse the bill and determine the extent to which it guarantees security of land tenure.
The forum provided an opportunity for land sector experts to review the Maximum and Minimum Land Holding Acreage Bill and point our issues in the bill as well as propose amendments that would improve it while still maintaining the principles of the Constitution of Kenya and the National Land Policy. Main issues that LDGI pointed out in its draft review included: infringement on the right to own property by focusing on land sizes rather than land use, contradiction with constitutional provisions on the right of non-citizens to own property, non-inclusion of environmental issues, focus on regulation of land sizes rather than proper and efficient land use practices. From the discussion, the main concerns surrounding the bill included: the bill not being informed by scientific study, lack of equality and adequate public participation in the drafting process, the bill does not put historical injustices into consideration, inconsistencies with existing laws, and undermining land ownership by foreigners and foreign direct investments. Some stakeholders were of the opinion that the constitutional requirement of enactment of legislation to prescribe maximum and minimum land holding sizes was met in section 159 of the Land Act and as such did not require another separate bill. It was proposed that the parliament extend the constitutional timeline for enactment of this legislation to give the responsible organs time to carefully redraft the bill.
Stakeholders also shared experiences in the three years since the enactment of the Land Act, Land Registration Act and the National Land Commission Act, with regard to their implementation. Main inconsistencies identified by LDGI in the three laws included; lack of clarity on the status of the land registry and the Chief Land Registrar, settlement programmes and conveyancing. Stakeholders were in agreement that the inconsistencies have created in challenges in the various aspects of land administration and management, and have slowed down development in some areas as transacting over land is met with challenges, with lands officers as well as practitioners lacking clarity on direction.