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Reprieve As Government Gets 12 Months to Fix Anomaly in 3 Million Property Title Deeds

Lands Cabinet Secretary had good news for land owners. In a statement to the press CS Kaimenyi said, ‘Property Titles Issued by Jubilee Government Valid, Order Suspended for a Year.’

I must say, land issues have always been a hot button issue in Kenya. Causing huge amounts of worry, whenever a cloud of uncertainty hangs over it –land.  This came as good news to Landowners and commercial banks as now they have a reason to smile after the High Court declared over three million land ownership documents issued since 2013 valid.

In the event that this ruling wouldn’t have been effected: Commercial banks and the owners of the three million land titles issued since 2013 would have been left holding onto worthless papers had Justice Onguto declared all of them null and void.Invalidity suspended”

This comes after a court order was issued recently terming the aforementioned titles as invalid. This reprieve is fitting to allow for conformity.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi says media reports on the issue are erroneous since the High Court order gave the government 12 months to validate the certificates with advice of the National Land Commission, public participation and parliamentary approval, to make them compliant with provisions of the law.

“I wish to re-assure the public that contrary to what is reported, grants, leases and certificates of titles issue by my ministry are legal, valid and legitimate,” he said. “The public and institutions dealing with these documents of land ownership are hereby assured of their validity.” He added.

According to the CS a task force is in place and it has been mandated to look at relevant regulations within two months, after which the lands law amendments of 2016 will be implemented, as directed by the court.

To avoid any further inconveniences, such as nullification of the certificates the CS has assured the public that his ministry will ensure that the draft regulations are completed and submitted to Parliament for approval within the period granted by court.

“In the fullness of time, the members of the public and all stakeholders will be invited to make their contribution towards the process being carried out by the Task Force,” he stated during a press briefing with journalists on Wednesday.

“The ministry’s focus is to ensure that the draft regulations are completed and submitted to Parliament for approval within the period granted by court. The ministry wishes to assure the public that the High Court order shall be complied with before the expiry of the 12 months’ timeline.”

To reiterate the CS said the public should not fear or “doubt on the land ownership documents they hold.”

The High Court ruling observed that the Jubilee Government issued the certificates without proper public participation and the input of the National Land Commission.

“That considering the immediate consequences of the above declaration on the registration of titles processes currently ongoing and already undertaken, the declaration of invalidity is suspended to enable the CS initiate meaningful engagement with the public, seek and take into account the advice of the NLC, on the challenged regulations and forms pursuant to section 110(2) of the Land Registration Act (LRA) and seek Parliament’s approval pursuant to Sections 110(2) of the LRA and Section 11 of the Statutory Instruments Act No. 23 OF 2013,” reads the High Court ruling.

The other ruling is however clear that, “the declaration of the invalidity shall not operate retroactively.”

The court said new regulations were necessary to recognise NLC’s role and the right of Kenyans to participate in land management affairs in conformity with the newly enacted Land Amendment Act (2016).

This article was first published by – Capital FM News