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 In light of recent reports on incidences of public land grab, LDGI rolled out a survey to establish the status of public land management in Kenya. The study targeted public institutions which hold large tracts of land as well as County Land Management Boards (in charge of managing public land at the devolved level.

The report was released at a Media Briefing at the Nairobi Safari Club – Lilian Towers, on Wednesday, 24th February 2016.

The results of the survey pointed to less than half of the public institutions (41%) having any form of documentation that can prove ownership of land they hold. Most of these public institutions (62%) are aware of the National Land Commission's (NLC's) role in the management of public land and had interacted with the commission to process ownership documents, solve encroachment disputes and repossess grabbed land. Some of these institutions had also interacted with the Commission at seminars and workshops on public land management.

CLMBs only have lists of public institutions as their inventory of public land within the county and only one of the 21 counties targeted in this study have made efforts to set up an inventory on a GIS platform. The report findings also touched on citizens' role in public land management and found out that most people who had witnessed an attempt to irregularly acquire or illegally occupy public.

The report recommends prioritization of establishment of an inventory of public land that will guide management and titling of all public land (in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands). The Institute also urges public institutions to take steps such as surveying, planning, fencing and getting title deeds of land held to protect against land grab.

Full report can be downloaded here.


In September and October 2015, LDGI carried out its periodic Scorecard report that monitors the progress being made in the land reforms implementation process. This scorecard, the Institute's 18th, sought to establish the status of service delivery in lands offices around the country, and find out whether the reforms at the institutional level have any impact on the service seekers' experiences at registries.

The report was released at a Media Briefing at the Nairobi Safari Club – Lilian Towers, on Wednesday, 28th October 2015. The survey was based on citizens' interaction with the lands departments (Registry, Survey, Adjudication and Settlement, and Planning) at county level offices.

The survey revealed that citizens main challenge when transacting at lands offices is turnaround times. Kenyans spend a long time for individual transactions, bringing about more cost implications through fares over long distances and making repeat visits. While transaction costs are affordable to most citizens, unofficial charges introduced by lands officers to rent-seek. Notably, over two thirds (69%) ranked service delivery as slow. Citizens citing instances of missing documents; requests for 'fuel money' to conduct site visits; unofficial payments without receipts; exclusive use of brokers to get services and favouritism as indicators of corruption. Citizens suggested improving timelines, digitization of records, reducing land rates, involving family in dispute resolution, abolishing land control boards and eliminating brokers as other concerns in lands offices. With regard to the recently introduced online land search (for the Nairobi registry), 63% of those interviewed were not aware of this option. LDGI Executive Director Mr. Mwenda Makathimo pointed out that the online land search option cannot be fully effective unless the records are digitized and other processes automated. The ED further called for government to invest in a fully automated land information management system for improvements in the land sector that will greatly improve service delivery in the land sector.

The Institute also released the accompanying Land Watch Note, which spoke to the 2015 proposed land bills (the Community Land Bill, Physical Planning Bill, and the Land Laws (Amendments) Bill. The Land Watch Note gave recommendations on the ongoing legislative process, highlighting the need to: keep land laws and institutions to a minimum; intense public debate on the bills to help implementation in future; converging processes of the Senate and the National Assembly; and need for stakeholder contributions. LDGI Chairman Mr. Ibrahim Mwathane also highlighted the importance of the bills with regard to land administration and management and that once parliament enacts these laws, it will need to fast track enactment of subsidiary legislation (regulations) to support the effective implementation of the 2012 and the 2015 land laws.

The full Report and Land Watch Note are available for download on this website. <DOWNLOADS>

Thursday, 24 September 2015 06:12

Cartoonists for Land Reforms

The Land Development and Governance Institute is dedicated to improving livelihoods through offering a bridge between communities, stakeholders and policy makers in the promotion of equitable access and sustainable management of land and natural resources. In its effort to achieve this, the Institute is constantly employing innovative methods of communicating the land reforms message to the public.
In this regard, the Institute has launched a partnership with the East African Cartoonist Society (KATUNI) in implementing a social media campaign built around a set of cartoons focused on land rights and natural resources. This initiative aims to capture the interest of the public to think and talk openly about land issues.

The development of the cartoon portal (www.landcartoons.co.ke) will provide the public with information on land reforms and natural resource management, owing to the recognition that art inspires, illuminates in our lives and empowers people. This initiative will be upscaled with the use of social media, to give land and natural resources matters global attention.

The cartoon portal will highlight, among others, issues surrounding: land as a limited resource; centrality of land to culture; land and natural resources; public participation; gender equality; land grabbing; land acquisition for investment; and pollution.

The cartoon portal will work to give a voice to all members of the society and providing them with critical information on the importance of natural resources and the need for good stewardship.

Follow updates on this initiative on our social media pages;
Twitter: @ldgi_kenya
Facebook: Land Development & Governance Institute



With the five year constitutional timeline for the enactment of legislation on community land and regulation of land use and property nearly coming to an end, LDGI got involved in efforts to ensure the bills being formulated towards this end are not hurriedly done but instead uphold the principles of sustainable land use while taking into account the various social and economic aspect of land ownership in the country. Part of these efforts led to LDGIs involvement in the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Land with the aim of sharing stakeholder concerns on bills currently being formulated.

TheNational Assembly Departmental Committee on Land Workshop was aimed at discussing the Investigations and Adjudication of Historical Land Injustices Bill, 2015; the Minimum and Maximum Land Holding Acreages Bill, 2015; the Community Land Bill 2015; and the Planning Bill, 2015. LDGI sought to present stakeholder concerns over the bills to the Lands Committee and inform their discussion on the same before they began. The Institute also took the opportunity to give comments on the bills from the engagement with other land sector stakeholders at the Audit of the Maximum and Minimum Land Holding Acreage Bill and the Engagement Forum with the Senate Lands Committee. Presentations were made on the contentious issues in the Maximum and Minimum Land Holding Acreage Bill, 2015 (Mr. Ibrahim Mwathane, LDGI Chairman); the draft Physical Planning Bill (Henry MuthokaMwau, Real Planners); and the Community Land Bill, 2015 (ShadrackOmondi, Reconcile). LDGI Chairman also took advantage of the forum with the Lands Committee to point out the conflicting areas in the Land Act, Land Registration Act and the National Land Commission Act with respect to Land Registries, the Chief Lands Registrar, Settlement Programmes and Conveyancing that are currently affecting the progress of land reforms implementation.

The Institute was thereafter involved in a plenary session to clarify issues presented to the lands committee as well as giving guidance on how best the issues would be addressed by the legislators in the law-making process.

LDGI will continually work towards influencing policies and laws to ensure they promote sustainable management of land and natural resources, and preventhurried enactment of laws to meet timelines without careful stakeholder input.

The 27th of August 2015 will mark five years since the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya. The new Constitution brought about progress in the land reforms implementation process with the inclusion of a chapter on Land and Environment (Chapter Five), and subsequently, provisions to enact legislation to guide different aspects of land administration and management with timelines for the same. As we approach the five year mark, LDGI took to its role in ensuring implementation of laws and policies that ensure sustainable management of land by holding a dialogue forum with members of the Senate Committee on Land and Natural Resources on 6th August 2015, at the SarovaWhitesands Hotel, Mombasa.

The forum brought the Senate Lands Committee andland sector stakeholders together to discuss the progress of legislation on land currently on the floor of the Senate,especially with regard to contentious provisions of the laws, as well as point out inconsistencies in the land laws enacted in 2012 that are inhibiting implementation. The bills discussed on the day were: the Community Land Bill; the draft Planning Bill; and the draft Maximum and Minimum Land Holding Acreage Bill; all with a constitutional timeline of five years for enactment by Parliament.

Main stakeholder concerns on the Community Land Bill were clarity on whether the bill should be under the Senate or the National Assembly, possibility of meeting the constitutional deadline for enactment, and need to ensure the bill fully captures all aspect of community land issues in Kenya, owing to the large percentage of community land in the country (over 60%). With regard to the Maximum and Minimum Land Holding Acreage Bill, main issues that came out were: the bill will undermine accessibility of private land as well as foreign direct investment, the bill wasn't informed by scientific research as required by Section 159 of the Land Act, and the bill focusing on regulation of land sizes as opposed to efficient land use practices. Issues were also raised on the inconsistencies in the Land Act, Land Registration Act and the National Land Commission Act with respect to Land Registries, the Chief Lands Registrar, Settlement Programmes and Conveyancing. Stakeholders present in the forum also highlighted the various issues surrounding the physical planning bill, mainly: the institutional framework and composition of planning institutions, types of plans, procedures of developing plans and registration of documents.

The Senate Lands Committee members present also raised issues on the bills discussed on the day, mainly pointing out the dynamism of laws and the provision to amend the less contentious issues after enactment, existing gap in counties with no CIC equivalent to guide law-making at that level of governance and need to cascade CIC roles, and need for CSOs to continually contribute to and inform all laws at different stages and through different strategies to ensure protection of citizens.

The Institute will share these issues with the institutions moving forward as part of a CSOs working group with the aim of informing the bills at an early stage before enactment.

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.

Draft of the minimum and  maximum land holding acreage bill in respect to private land is out. In accordance with upholding the principle of public participation under Article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya, members of the public are invited to submit views on the contents of the Bill to the Constitution for the Implementation of the Constitution by email on or before 3rd July 2015.
View the full bill here

The Land Development and Governance Institute carried out a field research mission from the 27th to the 30th April in Lamu County. The field research mission aimed at establishing the extent to which community land rights are protected during large scale land acquisitions. Lamu is one of three key sites that have been subject to large scale land acquisitions that the Instituteseeks to explore. The other two include Siaya and Isiolo.

The field research mission involved data collection methods such as interviews with county administrative officials, focused Group discussions with the various interest groups, interviews with traders, transect walks and site survey.

The research team had a good engagement with government officials and various stakeholders who provided information on the land administration regimes in the area and gave insight on the challenges faced by communities and county administrative officers in ensuring the protection of community land rights amid large scale land acquisitions.

Lamu County is central to the LAPSSET project since three of its components; a port, a road network and an oil refinery will be in the county. The focused group discussions and transect walks which had observed gender considerations, included youth and elders as well as business traders, provided information on the various ways in which each group had been affected by other land acquisitions following the project.

The mission helped the team put into perspective the various land related disputes that had ailed the county and contributed to the security issue that had engulfed the area. It was evident that customary and contemporary forms of land ownership in the area had largely contributed to the disputes. Irregular titling and poor land use methods were also evident and had been occasioned by the speculative purchase of land in the area due to the project development. Public participation had not been fully exercised with majority of the community members expressing lack of trust in the system due to the lacktransparency in the compensation.

The findings pointed to the inadequacy of social and environmental safeguards in implementation of large scale projects and the reality that often times, local communities do not receive the full expected benefitof such projects. The Institute shall continue to engage with communities and stakeholders to find out how best to improve the processes.

LDGI has released its 17th Scorecard Report at a Media Briefing at the Nairobi Safari Club – Lilian Towers, on Tuesday, 26thMay 2015. The survey took place in the months of April and May 2015, and sought to establish how citizens are interacting with the various land administration and management institutions in the current institutional framework.

The report centred on Land Governance Institutions under the current institutional framework (Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Development, National Land Commission, County Land Management Boards and County Ministries in charge of land).

The survey revealed that Kenyans face different challenges in transacting at these institutions. Main challenges at the Lands Ministry are corruption and long turnaround times, while poor access to services is impeding services at the National Land Commission. Citizens also cited incidences of rent-seeking when dealing with Land Control Boards. Lack of clarity on institutional framework, both among the public and among lands officers, is contributing to poor systems in land governance.

The report recommends that Parliament streamline the institutional framework to ensure harmony in land administration. In addition, LDGI Executive Director, Mr. MwendaMakathimo urged the leadership of the Lands Ministry to review performance of Land Control Boards as the current board members have held office for the last seven years. There is need to recruit new members to these boards and set out clear remuneration forms (including gazettement) to avoid rent-seeking. The Institute also called for establishment of all 47 counties and public awareness creation on the current institutional framework.

The Land Watch Note, released alongside the report highlighted the gains in the land sector in the 5 years since the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya in 2010. The Land Watch Note gave a summary of the progress made thus far both under legislation and under programmes as stated in the Constitution and the Policy. The Land Watch Note also gave recommendations to Parliament (Senate and National Assembly) to act fast to meet constitutional timelines for enactment of laws that will affect land administration and management in the country.

The full Report and Land Watch Note are available for download on this website.

Monday, 09 March 2015 07:06


Land administration and management in the country is set for improvements in efficiency with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development recently announcing the online transactions for the Nairobi Land Registry.

From the Land’s Ministry notice, citizens seeking services at the Nairobi Registry will benefit from a digital era of online searches, land rent demand notes and payments

This will be made possible through the Government’s e-citizen online platform.



 This will be made possible through the Government’s e-citizen online platform.

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