Faceless individuals have descended on Nairobi Dam and are subdividing the water body in what could be the last painful nail on the coffin for what was once the city's spare water reservoir and popular leisure location. The Sunday Standard gathers that the plan by the individuals who have begun fencing swathes of the damto reclaim it since it has pertly solidified over time due to siltation, is to convert it for real estate.
An acre of land in Lang'ata where the dam is situated, costs Sh80 million making the value of the land occupied by the dam which is 88 acres, worth at least Sh7 billion according to current market rates. In the dark The National Environment Management (Nema) yesterday said it was in the dark about what was going on in the dam. "We are not aware if there is any activity going on at the dam but we will investigate and tell you later," Njoki Mukiri, the Nairobi County director said. ALSO READ: Governor Evans Kidero shocker for city land grabbers "We were there two weeks ago and there was nothing strange going on," she said. Residents who live in the nearby Kibera slum, however, said the fencing has been going on for over two months and were agitated that those taking over the land were denying them space to farm hence taking away their livelihoods.
They said the illegal reclamation of the dam was causing them sleepless nights because of an increase in mosquitoes since the outflow of water from the dam had been reduced. "I am treating more people for malaria than diarrhea which is a bit strange given that most of the water that people drink here is contaminated," Mary Kivuva, who runs a clinic says. The fencing of the dam is being done in two sections.
The first one is next to Undugu grounds near Highrise Estate. The second one is next to Jonathan Ngeno Estate on the Langata bank of the dam and it is being done at night, according to residents. ALSO READ: Suspects in Sh8b Karen land could be freed over Court of Appeal typing error Of particular concern is the risk of flooding in Kibera and the estates on the lower side such as South C if the grabbers reclaim the whole dam and affect the pressure of water flowing from Kibera if it rains heavily.
The dam was commissioned in 1953 as a water reservoir for emergency water supply with a capacity of 98,422 cubic metres covering 356,179 square metres and was a popular for fishing and up to the 1990's. Mutoini River which originates from Ngong Forest flows through the slum into the dam where its waters are held temporarily.
The water then leaves the slum through Ngong River into South C, Industrial Area and Kayole before joining Athi River. Worse, the pressure of water leaving the dam has already been tampered with the construction of a block of flats next to Highrise estate which is believed to be part of the reason why there is flooding downstream in South C when it rains heavily.
Seefar Apartments which was granted NEMA construction approval number 0008382 and the defunct Nairobi City Council approval number is E7-840 in 2012, directed the dam's waters to a different spillway after a dyke they had constructed caved in twice due to pressure. Plans to restore the dam have have not been successful in the past. The Nairobi Dam Initiative in 2004 sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ended in futility. [Vincent Achuka]
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2001237334/land-grabbers-now-strike-nairobi-dam
The Cabinet has issued a directive waiving fees for land title searches.
Chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the government on Thursday issued the waiver to cushion Kenyans from unnecessary costs.
This is part of the Government’s policy to make doing business in Kenya easier.
The directive is also expected to reduce the bureaucratic procedures that have characterised land transactions for decades.
It comes on the back of the progress that the Jubilee administration has made in issuing more than three million title deeds since coming into office.
The government was able to surpass its target of issuing three million titles by fast-tracking the issuance of titles through a temporary waiver of land adjudication and survey fees
Ministry of Lands is also working on the digitisation of land registries that has seen automation of land transactions thus reducing the time it takes to complete a transaction.
Automation has also reduced the possibilities of tampering with property data.
Power generating firm KenGen has suspended the construction of a 400-megawatts wind power plant in Meru County until land rows rocking the project are resolved.
The first phase of the Meru Wind Farm Project that is expected to cost Sh6.9 billion was scheduled to be completed in December, this year.
The project will sit on an 18,700-acre-piece of land in Tigania East Sub County.
According to KenGen’s managing director, Albert Mugo, the construction has been delayed due to land disputes.
“As you see in the papers, we await land adjudication so that we can deal with the bona-fide land owners,” Mr Mugo said through a text message.
The project is aiming at contributing to economic development and mitigate climate change and sustainable national energy matrix by producing environmentally sound electrical energy and avoid the generation of carbon emissions at reasonable economic costs.
To speed up the demarcation process of the disputed land, a budget of Sh6 million was approved by the national government.
The process was expected to be completed within two months to allow the firm to construct the plant this year.
However, this has faced a big blow after Meru Governor Peter Munya put an injunction to stop the process.
“Those purporting to be committee members have not been gazetted. Whatever they are doing in the land is illegal. If we allow them to continue with the illegal process, the poor will be deprived of their land,” he said.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The governor said he will only allow the process to go on once an all-inclusive land committee is constituted.
Mr Munya said the bona-fide land owners should be given a two-week notice before meeting to choose a committee that will oversee the subdivision of the land.
The area has been in a conflict of interest from many stakeholders since the power company identified it for the mega project.
The area which is located few metres from the Isiolo international airport is also seen as an avenue for the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project.
According to the District Lands and Adjudication Settlements Officer (DILASO) Kephers Obingo, the demarcation process will be done before the KenGen wind power station is set up.
“We need cooperation from all those involved to ensure the exercise runs smoothly. Genuine land owners will get documents immediately after the demarcation,” Mr Obingo.
The wind mill project will occupy the sections of Ngaremara and Gambela locations.
Pastoralism is the main production system practised by communities who live in range lands and dry lands which are usually arid or semi-arid. But pastoral communities are facing increasing pressure on their land.
Traditionally, pastoral communities have accessed and used land collectively, using customary laws and norms to manage the land. For example, the Maasai community in Kenya believed that land was a birth right accessible to everyone. No individual could restrict access over a section of land. In addition, elders of the community would determine grazing patterns, when to migrate, and would negotiate with neighbouring communities when they migrated to foreign land.
But a combination of factors has upset this equilibrium. Pressures stem from global trends such as demographic change, urbanisation, competing land use and misconceptions about pastoralism by policymakers.
Public policy has supported the individualisation and privatisation of land tenure in these areas. The declared aim is to promote investments in land and increase land productivity. As a result communities have been forced to change because of urbanisation and competition for the use of land from activities such as mining.
These pressures are similar in pastoral communities across the world. A comparison of pastoral communities in Kenya and Peru illustrates this, even though they live in very different terrain and keep different livestock. In Kenya, pastoral communities reside in low lands characterised by high temperature and low rainfall. In Peru they’re on mountain highlands that are extremely cold and have very little rain. Cattle, sheep, goats and camels are common in Kenya, while Alpacas and llamas are common in Peru.
It’s important that these pastoral communities and their practices are protected. The maintenance of collective land tenure will aid and sustain their productive systems. This shouldn’t be too difficult given that a large majority of pastoral communities reside inland where alternative use is limited.
Public policy needs to be reoriented to support pastoralism by providing and sharing evidence on what works for and how current policies affect these communities.
Pastoralists in both countries face growing pressure over their land due to increasing individualisation of land tenure. Both use collective land tenure and common sustainable practices. These include mobility and mosaic grazing, split grazing, genetic improvement and herd size management.
Mobility refers to the practice of moving animals based on resource availability, mainly pastures and water. It allows pastoral communities to access fresh pasture and water by moving to resource-surplus areas. While this is supported under collective land tenure, it’s constrained where land is under individual tenure.
Mosaic system of grazing consists of spatial combination of intensively grazed and underutilised patches where land is grazed intensively, or superficially or not grazed at all. Mobility and mosaic grazing are important for regeneration of resources such as pasture and help maintain biological diversity. Mosaic grazing also aids in control of overgrazing, pasture planning and management.
Split grazing on the other hand is where animals are separated based on sex, age and breed. This helps in genetic improvement of breeds and control of over breeding. However, this strategy requires sufficiently diverse pastures as well as labour resources. As such, it’s constrained under individual land tenure, where land sizes are smaller.
Mobility and mosaic grazing are practised by communities in both regions. An example in Kenya is the Borana community in Isiolo County. The community is organised in dheedas. These are grazing clusters, which independently set rules for pasture and water management. Each dheeda has a grazing plan where land is accessed depending on the season – whether rainy, dry, or severe drought. In the Peruvian Altiplano, access to extensive and varied pastures means family condominiums and pastoral communities move their herds according to seasonal feed availability.
However, as the land tenure becomes individualised, these strategies can no longer be practiced. For example, in Kajiado County, once individuals bought what was once community land, they quickly fenced it off to limit access. Pastoral communities who had free accesses to all the land before land fragmentation now accessed less land.
Pastoral communities in Kenya and Peru also practise split grazing. For pastoralists who have genetically improved their breed, this is important to maintain purity. Under individual land tenure, genetic breed improvement is enforced due to spatial constraints.
To improve productivity, genetic breed improvement becomes necessary. Communities in Peru have improved alpaca breeds to increase wool production. Similarly, some communities in Kenya have adopted the Sahiwal breed for cattle and Dorper breed for sheep.
A major difference is that under collective land tenure, a number of breeds are easily managed. Different animal breeds have different pasture requirements. As such, making use of heterogeneous resources available aids pastoralist diversify their risk.
However, managing the number of breed can increase labour costs under individual land tenure. A herder in individual land tenure will manage the herd size to suit their land holding. During dry spells, the herder will sell off animals and remain a sustainable herd. This ensures sustainable use of available resources.
Community mechanisms to manage and utilise land need to be supported and ensure that they can enforce customary laws over their land. The government and civil society organisations are now working with communities through off take programmes to manage their herd sizes. However, since communities under collective land tenure can migrate, they sub-optimally utilise this strategy.
Breaking the trend of individualisation of land tenure in pastoralist areas will help sustain their productive systems. In addition, there’s a need to strengthen community institutions that manage land accessed collectively. In Kenya, the recently enacted Community Land Act, 2016 seeks to achieve this.
Kenyans of Asian origin and foreigners who have acquired land in the country are a worried lot due to frequent intimidations from influential people keen to evict them.
Occupants of lease hold properties have become targets of a cartel that is colluding with officials at the Ministry of Lands to fraudulently process extension and renewal of land leases, according to Nyamira Senator Kennedy Mong’are.
In Nairobi, hired goons who rely on forged ownership documents and renewing others illegally have descended on homes, sometimes in broad daylight claiming that the land in question had exchanged hands, after expiry of leases.
This is despite the government saying that priority for renewal of leases should be given to those occupying the land and in the event that they do not wish to renew the land in question, the land will revert to the government.
Those affected have complained that they are being tossed from the Ministry, the National Lands Commission (NLC) and their respective county governments, whenever they sought assistance.
“Nobody wants to take responsibility to correct the anomaly, yet the well-connected people are taking advantage of the deadlock to scare away people who genuinely acquired land,” Mr Mong’are, who is a lawyer said.
Mr Mong’are who has declared interest in the presidency, said many institutions are fond of unnecessarily delaying justice by claiming to be investigating a matter that is clear and the documents are available, to set the record straight.
“They prefer finding solace in the sentence, we are investigating, even when it is clear someone’s rights have been violated and the documents to confirm the true position are available,” the lawmaker said.
Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero admitted that some criminal cartels have been using counterfeit documents to grab public land.
He said the NLC has not done much to consult other players to tackle land ownership disputes that remains a time bomb, including affecting investor confidence in the country, if not properly addressed.
And now, the Lands Cabinet Secretary, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi, has moved to forestall the alarming rate at which the cartels are eyeing private land, amidst revelations that influential leaders, could be behind the lawlessness.
After the Cabinet directed Prof Kaimenyi in December last year, to stop any renewal of leases until the system is streamlined, he has set up a task force to unearth the mystery behind the land leases.
Tristan Voorspuy, a dual Kenyan/British national, is the latest casualty of land related conflicts after he was found dead at the Sosian ranch in Laikipia County, which he co-owns.
He had reportedly ventured out on a horseback to visit a site on the ranch where two cottages had been set ablaze.
Many of the pastoralists claimed that the huge tracts of land mostly owned by ranchers, who are mainly white settlers, was their ancestral land.
Last year, properties belonging to Mr Nazmudin Habib Kassam Kurji, 73, and his wife, and his brother, Sadrudin Habib Kassam Kurji in Nairobi, were demolished over land lease disagreements.
The 11 member team chaired by Mr Ibrahim Mwathane a renowned expert on land matters will have to determine whether due process was followed in the renewal of land leases since 2010.
“The team will restrict itself to analysing and reviewing the existing policy, legal and institutional framework on processing of extension and renewal of the leases,” the gazette notice indicates.
The team that has six months to deliver unless the duration is extended by the cabinet secretary, will be expected to make recommendations to address existing gaps and weaknesses in the process.
They are also required to “make recommendations on the actions to be taken against all those individuals who have been involved in the fraudulent renewal and extension of leases.”
The task force will also establish if there are any initiatives taken to convert land with expired leases either to community or public land and the implications of such undertakings.
The Ministry will meet the costs incurred by the taskforce, which include facilitation and allowances.