THAT, aware that the Government has granted leases for land in settlement schemes ranging from 99 to 999 years and freehold titles to others in the same localities; appreciating the need to harmonize land tenures in the same area; this House urges the Government to adopt a uniform land title policy and converts all the leases for agricultural settlement schemes to freehold titles to facilitate enhanced agricultural output.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, in moving this Motion, I would like to say that land is the source of most of these problems in this country. During the colonial era, this country was a British Protectorate. It was declared British Protectorate on 15th June, 1895. In the process of wanting to acquire and possess land in this country, the rulers at that time enacted some Bills. There was the Crown Lands Ordinance of 1902 and the Crown Lands Ordinance of 1915. These pieces of legislations still haunt us today, 45 years of Independence.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, most of the problems that we have in this country are brought about by land. The Ministry of Lands which is charged with the responsibility of management of land in this country is working at a slow pace in demarcating land in pastoral areas where there are chunks of land.
In some areas, people have different land leases. Some have a lease of 99 years while others are freehold. There is no uniformity in the land policy in this country. This has led, not only to the reluctance of farmers to produce more food to feed this country, but it has actually brought some problems even among the neighbours. This has contributed to corruption even in the Ministry. Nobody knows exactly what is happening. This Motion is trying to bring out the concerns of freehold. Most agricultural land is
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ancestral land. This is land that belongs to people and yet, the Government is still insisting on leases.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, all of us want this country to be self- sufficient in food. We have to support farmers from all corners of this country. In so doing, we need to look critically at the land issue in this country. We need to assist the farmers to own the land properly. To me, by giving them leases, we encourage some laziness or reluctance among the farmers. It is as if we are leasing to them their own land.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, if somebody has bought land or has been given land by the Government, why can they not be given a freehold, so that the person is free to do farming, or dig a borehole in that area. They cannot dig a borehole because they know that after some time, the land will not belong to them because the Government can repossess it. Even in urban areas like in Nairobi and other towns, where Asians were given plots of land many years ago, some have 99 years leases. At the expiry of these leases, they run to the Ministry of lands to renewal of them. They know without renewal those leases, the Government can repossess the land together with their development there in. The Ministry of Lands does not care whether you have spent millions of money to develop it or not. They only want that piece of paper whether it is a lease for 99 years or 999 years.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, with regard to agriculture, I urge the Ministry of Agriculture and the Government to assist farmers. We want this country to be self-sufficient in food production. Farmers need to have title deeds, not only in the settlement schemes, but also in pastoral areas. We have got a lot of land in Kenya that is not being cultivated today. We know the Ministry of Lands has not been given enough money to do adjudication in pastoral areas. We should give them enough money so that they can issue title deeds to our people. When you own land, this can enable you to take a loan from banks or agricultural institutions. It is sad that the Ministry of Lands is only concentrating on white settlement areas where Europeans used to cultivate. Little attention is paid to areas where people own ancestral land or areas where pastoralists live.
The Ministry must get concerned with feeding Kenyans. You cannot talk about agriculture without talking about land. Land is the foundation of everything. Without land, you cannot cultivate. It also depends on what papers one has. If you have leasehold papers, the concern and interest of farmers is not attached to this. I urge the Government to speed up demarcation so that farmers can be assisted by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and above all, the Ministry of Lands. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, even after 46 years of Independence, the Government Lands Act is not supportive to farmers. This Act was intended to harmonise all land tenure in this country but it has not been implemented correctly. The Ministry is slow in correcting things in that Ministry. My concern is for the Ministry to treat farmers who feed this country, with a lot of respect. They should also have a system to deal with land issues uniformly. The Ministry should put a lot of emphasis on agricultural land, whether settlement schemes or trust lands. In this way, they may correct things in this country by assisting farmers. With those few remarks, I beg to move and ask Dr. Eseli to second.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I wish to thank Mr. Boaz Kaino for allowing me to second this Motion. I also want to commend the Minister for Lands
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for having seen the importance of this Motion that he himself opted to be present during debate. There is failure of the land tenure system in this country. This is in the sense that it is so flawed that people own land under different systems. We have freehold and leasehold systems. Even under leasehold, some have a lesser period of 99 years and others 999 years. This has brought a lot of fracas in the agricultural system. In a constituency like mine, Kimilili Constituency, part of it; Bungoma North District, is a settlement scheme where seven-eighths of the population here own land as freehold, while one-eighth own land as leasehold. The one-eighth that own land as leasehold are also torn between â I would say- suspended animation. They do not know whether the ownership of the land is forever or in the next 42 years they will have to vacate the land because the lease will have expired. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, these people bought this land from the original owners who then decided to sell the land to them. The land was on a 99 year lease. Eventually, those who bought the land have realized that the lease is already half- way and would expire. They would then be thrown out of that land because they do not own it. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I think the gist of the Motion is very clear. In agricultural settlement schemes, the land should be converted to freehold titles. I think it is important because that way, the farmers can access their title deeds and be able to access credit. Right now, because of the leasehold system, they are unable to access the title deeds. The land is treated as a whole. They have been unable to pay for conversion to freehold tenure. These are poor farmers and raising that money becomes a problem. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I think it is important that as we talk of food security in this country, in these agriculturally potential areas, the land be converted to freehold tenure. The title deeds should then be issued to farmers so that they can be able to access credit facilities and improve their farming methods. This way, we can improve on food security in the country. We are in a situation where we have several classes of citizens. We have those who will own land as freehold and those who will hold land as leasehold without actually saying who the second class citizen is. The land tenure system has been a problem. I know and I am aware that there has been a lot of effort to try to improve the system. However, I think this Motion will help speed up this process, especially in highly agricultural productive areas. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the commercial areas, this has encouraged corruption. When somebodyâs leasehold is about to expire, then everybody who is involved in land issues, for example, surveyors and all those, sharpen their teeth knowing that the person will come for renewal of the lease and they would be able to seek rent from these people. Sometimes when these leases are renewed, people end up not getting another 99 years. Some end up getting 30 years or 40 years without any criteria for this. Unless we streamline this, we are encouraging corruption that has been eating our society all along. In agricultural areas, it is important to change the lease system because these farmers are the people who ensure that we have enough food. In my constituency right now, farmers are stuck, they do not know whether to invest heavily on their farms or not. They do not know whether they will still own the land in 30 years time. They have been
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unable to put in permanent development on their farms. They have been unable to do any long term planning because the leases will expire soon. I think that is part of what is causing the precarious food situation we have now. Most of the farmers are in limbo. They do not know where they stand. They do not know whether in future they will have to move from their farms. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I think it is important that the Ministry of Lands considers the last part of the Motion and converts all the leases of agricultural land to freehold titles to facilitate enhanced agricultural output. I am saying this because there are two farms I am very clear in mind about. These are Wanangwe Farm and James Mwei Farm in Ndalu Division in my constituency. These are huge farms settled by thousands of people who do not have title deeds because they are on leasehold. They are supposed to convert this to freehold. These poor farmers were displaced from Mt. Elgon, they came and bought an acre or two acres for their survival. Now they are being asked to raise over Kshs1 million in order to be able to convert their ownership to freehold. For the good of these people, it would be good if the Minister considered this Motion positively especially in the highly agricultural potential areas of the settlement schemes. With those few remarks, I beg to second.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I commend Mr. Kaino for bringing this Motion before this House. It is an important Motion because it gives us an opportunity to discuss very important matters in relation to land tenure and generally, on the land policy. I do not want to anticipate debate on the land policy, because right now, the Ministry is preparing a Sessional Paper on the land policy which will be brought to this House for debate and approval or otherwise. This Motion makes some assumptions which are not correct. I have discussed with my colleague, Mr. Kaino, that subject to some amendments, we have no problem with the Motion. However, I would like to point out aspects of this Motion which are not correct. I want Dr. Eseli to listen because he is also affected. I know that these matters are very important in so far as Dr. Eseliâs constituency is concerned. The position in the country at the moment is that every land that falls under an agricultural settlement scheme is on freehold title. Under the Agriculture Act, which is the operative provision, the SFT cannot issue any title in an agricultural scheme which is not a freehold. In fact, the Motion is asking us to do what is already in place. All titles in agricultural settlement schemes are freehold. We are going in the opposite direction in the National Land Policy in so far as agricultural settlement schemes are concerned. It is also a fact that in trust lands which have been adjudicated and people issued with titles, they are given freehold titles or what is called under the Registered Land Act âabsolute proprietorshipâ. This means that you virtually own that land without any conditions. So, a squatter who is allocated land in a settlement scheme is issued with a freehold title. With regard to what Dr. Eseli was talking about in relation to pieces of the land in his constituency which are on leasehold, those pieces of land were formally occupied by the white settlers or those who managed to get Government land on leasehold. Since they were on leasehold, they cannot transfer a title that is better than the title they hold.
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Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, there is some history about this. Lord Dalemare and others were given long-term leases as they tried to encourage white settlers to come to Kenya. If you compare this with what is happening in other countries, you will find that Kenya is one of the few countries where in order to attract white settlers â because most white settlers went to Canada, Australia or South Africa â the colonial Government either gave them long-term leases, for example, 999 years or freehold titles. In some cases, we have leaseholds for 10,000 years. There is no Government anywhere, and we have been looking for comparable situations in other countries, where a Government gives out land for more than 99 years. At the back of your mind, you should always remember that the land that is being given out by the Government for settlement is either Government Land or one which the Government has bought in order to settle squatters. However, if it is trust land to which the community has a right, we normally issue freehold titles after adjudication. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the problem we have in places like Coast Province or Rift Valley Province, is that we issue somebody a freehold title. That person is settled on the basis that he or she is poor and landless. In most cases, you will find that as soon as that person gets a title, within a week or year, he or she will either sell that land or lease it out in circumstances we have no control of. So, that squatter who was settled will move to another scheme after selling the land that he or she had been given. He or she will declare that he is still poor and landless and, therefore, entitled to be settled. What we are trying to do is that if somebody declares himself to be poor and landless, we will issue him or her with a title which will have conditions. The squatter is barred from selling the land for ten years, for example. We have not agreed on how long that condition should run. We are trying to control the squatters who then become âprofessional squattersâ. I hope you will understand where we have come from. However, the Government will not in instances where land is either trust or private land, issue anybody other than a freehold title or absolute proprietorship. In this Motion, Mr. Kaino, deals with land in settlement schemes. He has not talked about farmers generally, but land in settlement schemes. Land in settlement schemes is Government land. You cannot get a better title than the Government has. You cannot give somebody your car and transfer it to that person at the same time. You either give it and transfer it absolutely or you have a residual ownership by keeping the title in your name. I am saying that we are finding ourselves in a situation where the Government is becoming landless. This is because everywhere, including urban areas, everybody wants land to be converted into freehold. I can assure you that in relation to urban land, for example, in Nairobi and Mombasa, we will not allow people to convert leaseholds into freeholds. This is because we have had instances where the Government needs land, for example, to do infrastructure. We spend a lot of money, for example, to buy land to build roads. The sections from Pangani to Thika was basically Government land, but we gave them out as freehold. The Government is now spending billions of shillings to buy back that land. If we had given those pieces of land on leasehold, it would have been easier for the Government to get them back, because we would have some interest on them. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I would like to remind Mr. Kaino that most of the land between Pangani up to Thika was agricultural land and not urban land. However, we have found ourselves in a situation where we have issued somebody a
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freehold title deed. That is why we have been held hostage by the white settlers who came here and were issued with freehold titles. For eternity, we cannot get those pieces of land and allocate them back to the communities that they belong to. So, in the land policy, in relation to Government land or land that the Government acquires, we will not give people freehold titles. However, if it is community land, trust land or private land that you have worked hard and acquired it as a freehold, we will allow you to have the freehold title.
[ The Temporary Deputy Speaker
(Prof. Kamar) left the Chair]
[The Temporary Deputy Speaker (Mr. Imanyara) took the Chair]
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you cannot go to countries like Singapore, Korea and Malaysia and do a major project like infrastructure or building hotels and fail to get land. Singapore is a city state larger than Nairobi and yet if you go there with capital, you cannot fail to get land. Today, we cannot get land in Nairobi because we have allocated many of the pieces of land on freehold basis. We are now faced with a situation where the Government wants to build institutions, roads and infrastructure but there is no land. I agree with the hon. Member that because of corrupt deals within the Ministry â and we are trying to make sure that these activities are minimized â somebody who was issued with a leasehold title converts it into a freehold title. That ties our hands forever and we cannot be able to control development; we cannot be able to plan land use because once the land is freehold, then the Government cannot interfere with it in any way. That is because it is absolute proprietorship. So, I want to assure hon. Kaino that, as we speak today - and I want you; if you could point out to me any settlement scheme where titles have been given, and which are anything other than freehold, and then I will be surprised because all of them are freehold. But in schemes where the Government has bought land from, for example, a land owner, but it is not used as a settlement scheme, if it is planned for development, we can be able to give leaseholds.
Now, again, in relation to farmers, for example, what Dr. Eseli was talking about, that somebody bought a piece of land and he is a farmer, and that he is limited to the unexpired period of a lease--- For example, there are many people who buy land and they do not realize that, probably, the lease remains unexpired for a period of about five years. So, he has bought it not knowing that the lease will expire in five yearâs time. That will normally require somebody to look at the documents of the lease carefully; look at the head lease and look out whether you are getting good value out of your money. But the thing is: There are places like, for example, in Trans Nzoia, where farmers form a land buying company. When they go and buy that piece of land, they cannot be able to get a better title than what is contained in the head title. So that, if the person they are buying the land from had a lease for 99 years, that person or farmer who was selling to this other farmer cannot be able to give them a better title than he has. So, if the unexpired period is five years, that is the interest he can sell and nothing beyond those five years.
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So, I would want to encourage hon. Kaino that to enable us to be able to deal with the issue of settling genuine landless people in Kenya, we have to put conditions. We cannot give them titles which have no conditions. In the Coast, for example, we have had to take a major audit because you find a family or somebody who has been in this business for a long time has got a hundred names. When people were being settled in Kwale, he is there with his 100 people and acquires a hundred title deeds. If there is land in Kilifi, the same person moves to Kilifi on and on and on until Lamu. So that, in some of those names, you will find somebody or even the same person acquiring, probably, 20 pieces of land within the same region. If his name is Mohamed Ali Salim, you will find a variation of that name â Salim Ali Mohamed, Ali Salim Mohamed â and you think you are dealing with a different person and yet, it is the same person! Once you give him a freehold title, there is nothing you can do about it!
So, I think if the Government has to be in the business of buying land and giving it to the poor and landless, the Government should be in a position to put conditions on whatever kind of tenure that is passed on to the farmer or to the squatter. So, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I would urge--- I am sorry, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I did not notice that the Chair has changed.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would ask that, with some amendments, I would welcome this Motion. I think it is timely because one of the things that we are trying to deal with in the land policy is titling and to make sure that people have titles to land. That is because land has more value when there is title to that land and that, that title is protected under the law, including the Constitution. Hopefully, when the Sessional Paper comes to this Parliament, we will be able to discuss and get views from hon. Members in respect of bringing a uniform system of land tenure. Right now, like hon. Kaino was mentioning at the beginning, a lot of land at the Coast was given under the Crown Lands Ordinance, which is now the Land Titles Act. Now, the system of tenure under that Act is quite different from, let us say, the Registered Land Act or from the Registered Titles Act. So, you can go to a lands registry and present yourself before the same registrar, but depending on the system of land ownership and the relevant law, he has to keep on changing the registers he is dealing with. If you do not have somebody who is well experienced and who can read what is in the head title and the instruments that are being presented before him, you can have a lot of confusion. We have pieces of land in the Coast, Rift Valley and all over which are registered under the Registered Land Act. You will find the same piece of land, again, registered under the Registration of Titles Act. That, for those who are in the business of grabbing land, creates opportunities for people to mess up the land management system. That, we hope that, in good time, when we carry out those major reforms in the land sector, will be a thing of the past.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as I said in the beginning, we are prepared to support this Motion, but with amendments. Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
By deleting the words âto freehold titlesâ, which appears on the fifth line. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the reason for the amendment has been explained very well by the Minister. The reason why I would want to also propose this amendment is simply because of the business that we have turned land into. As a Government, the policy should be land for agriculture. We have always talked about agriculture being the backbone of our economy. It no longer is! The reason why agriculture is no longer the backbone of our economy is because land has been converted into commercial use. Some use it for speculation. There are people who own acres and acres of land simply for speculative purposes. So, when Kenyans are going hungry, there is land sitting idle that could be used for agricultural purposes.
That is why, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I really would like to urge the Minister â he came on a platform of reform and one of his first promises to Kenyans was to bring the land policy reform program. We are disappointed, as we are, with this Government. But we are also disappointed with the Ministry of Lands; the slow pace of reform on the issue of land policy is a bit disappointing. That is why you find an hon. Member bringing this Motion because the Government is not moving on this issue. The more the Government drags its feet on this issue, the more Kenyans become apprehensive. All the issues we are talking about today, it does not matter from which angle, are revolving around the issue of squatters, people looking for land and people looking for food security.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue of food security in Kenya has become bigger than the issue of even conflict on the borders. Why? Because we have no food in this country. It is a shame that we have so much land in this country, but we do not have enough food for our people! It is simply because of a historical injustice during the colonial era â that the Minister has actually explained â where land was given to the white settlers. It was thereafter taken over by those who were close to those white settlers. Up to today, we continue to live in a land where there those who own Kenya and those who are squatters. Unfortunately, those who own Kenyans are the minority. Majority of Kenyans are actually squatters in their country.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish to urge the Minister to put in place this policy faster because it is bringing conflict and tension in our country. Every community now has an issue of land, even those that did not have issues of land before.
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Conflict is arising because of the issue of land adjudication. I believe that programmes have already been put in place. I also believe that the policy had been worked on for many years. I believe the civil society and the Government have been involved. He should bring on board this uniform land title policy that I am sure the Ministry has already worked on, to allow Kenyans own land and know that we own it. The security of owning land in Kenya does not exist for small people. It is only for the bigwigs. How does a Kenyan know that they own land and know that it is theirs? If it is not by freehold title then by what means. When you speak about uniform land title policy, bring it to this House. Let us debate. Let us be comfortable that if I die as Ms. Shabeh, I would be able to leave behind my ten acres for my children to inherit it. That is the fear of Kenyans and Members of Parliament. That is why we are supporting this Motion. We do not want a policy that will turn again this land into quick buying and selling scheme for potential businessmen.
With those few remarks, I beg to move the amendments and ask hon. Mbadi to second.
In support of the amended Motion, I have one thing that I agree with the Mover of the original Motion; that, we really need to have uniformity in land tenure and ownership in this country, regardless of whether it is a settlement or not a settlement scheme. The issue of land ownership in this country is really confusing to many of us. We do not even understand why land lease is given for 999 years. It is like it is discretion of some officers in the Ministry of Lands. So, we if could have some kind of uniformity in land ownership and land tenure, then I think we would move a long way in understanding how land is being allocated and owned in this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am one of the people who do not believe that someone should have freehold access to land. To me, all the land should have a uniform lease. If it is 999 years, let it be. This issue of some people owning land as freehold land should not arise. Does land belong to the Government or some land belongs to individuals and others belong to the Government? I am aware that the Ministry has come up with a land policy document which will be approved by this House. This is a step in the right direction. All along, we have been asking the Ministry of Lands to come up with a land policy document that would guide land allocation, management and use in this country. I also want to talk about the so called historical injustices. The main reason for talking about settling people is because of historical injustice. My advice to the Ministry and I believe it is captured in the land policy document; we should really be clear about what historical injustice is all about. The words âhistorical injusticeâ in this country is really confusing. Some communities say they have faced a lot of historical injustices. When you ask them from who? They say from other communities in Kenya. So, where does the words âhistorical injusticeâ end? Does it start in 1963 when Kenya got Independence or does it go back to the colonial period when some people were removed from their land to create space for white settlers? So, I would expect the Ministry to be very clear on what would amount to historical injustice.
A lot has been said about reforms in the lands sector. The land sector still needs a lot of reforms. The Minister must have taken over with a lot of zeal because he is
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someone we know. He is someone who holds reforms dearly, including land reforms. As I speak, the people who genuinely want to own land, registration of titles takes unnecessarily long. But you realise that lands that are frequently transferred take even less than a week to be done. This is something that is really disheartening. I would expect the Ministry to address this issue, especially at this time when we are all talking about reforms. With those few remarks, I beg to second the Motion as amended.
(Question, that the words to be left out be left out, proposed)
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I now want to support the Motion as amended. Yesterday, we were debating the Vote of this very critical Ministry, and one thing that we have been fighting for, for a long time in this country is putting in place a comprehensive land policy that will address many of the issues that keep coming up in piecemeal. It has taken a long time until recently when the Cabinet eventually passed the Draft Policy. We believe that we are very fortunate as a country to have a reformist as a Minister in this very critical Ministry. We expect that having taken several years from 2004 where we have been pushing for this land policy, and the Cabinet having passed this land policy in the last few weeks, that the Minister will not take a long time in bringing a Sessional Paper that will bring affairs before this House the proposed land policy. We believe that the Motion moved by Mr. Kaino is a very important Motion and as we support it, we believe that some of the issues in this Motion are some of the issues that should be addressed in the proposed land policy.
We are expecting that over 46 years after Independence, we should have in place a comprehensive land policy that will deal with the issue of title deeds. It is a sad story that many years after we got our Independence, we still have many Kenyans without title deeds; many parts of this country are yet to be demarcated. From yesterdayâs presentation, we are informed that maybe, about eight provinces in this country have actually not been properly demarcated and title deeds issued. Yet, for the few that have received title deeds, you find that there are many people holding title deeds that are still bearing colonial names. In fact, I came across one old title deed for one of the farms in Trans Nzoia District. You will be surprised that this title deed still bears the emblem of the colonial British Government. Indeed, it says; âKnow all men by this presents that the Governor and Commander in Chief of Kenya on behalf of her most Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II---â We still have colonial title deeds; an independent nation, Kenyans holding title deeds still in the names of former lords and royalties from the British colonial Government. We are urging this Minister that we must expedite the process of putting in place a land policy in this nation that will ensure that all title deeds held by Kenyans, not just in settlement schemes in certain parts, but all title deeds issued in Kenya should bear the name the Republic of Kenya and should not have any colonial epitaph. This is what we are urging. We are also urging that, indeed, there should be uniformity; not just in the types of title but also the policy should be able to address this issue to ensure that we also are able to consolidate our laws. You would be surprised how many laws are in place; how many statutes govern land ownership in this country, right from the colonial times. Referring to this old document, we had the Registration of Titles
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Ordinance which is currently Cap.281, which is the Registration of Titles Act. We have the Government Lands Act, the Registration of Lands Act (RLA). We need to consolidate, first of all, as a matter of urgency, all the laws scattered in different statutes touching on land in Kenya. Once we are able to do this, we should also, as the Mover of this Motion has proposed and as amended, be able to now also have a uniform land title policy. Apart from consolidating our laws and having a comprehensive land law that is not scattered in all other statutes, we should also have a uniform land title policy where there is uniformity but most important, as we progress to enhance agricultural output, we would not only be a matter of consolidating the laws and the uniformity but regulating land use in itself. We know that high potential areas like Trans Nzoia and other parts in the breadbasket of Kenya, production has gone down considerably because of the poor land use. We are also aware of the iniquities that exist in this nation since Independence. We recently had a Motion in this House where we urged the Government to set up a special fund for settlement of squatters. It was surprising how many people came up with ideas on land ownership. One speaker indicated that out of Kenya having eight provinces, three provinces are owned by less than five families. We have people owning vast acres of land that lie idle, are unutilized and that are not used in food production to boost national food security. The time has come when this Government through this reformist Minister, should be able to deal with these issues; that we can have so many Kenyans squeezed in what they call points; less than an acre of land. They are unable to cultivate or produce anything, yet there are thousands of acres that lie fallow; that, only we have snakes and rabbits and are not utilized for food production. The time has come when this land policy must be put in place and these iniquities are addressed as a matter of urgency. But apart from uniform land policy title, the processing of these titles â I come from Trans Nzoia District which has a problem of lacking titles. Year in, year out, we have been talking about this issue. I am grateful that the Minister has visited Trans Nzoia District. We urge that he comes back again, so that we can ensure that Kenyans are able to get titles for their land; they are able to access credit facilities through the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) and the ADC. We have banks like Equity that has done very well in supporting farmers through the âKilimo Biasharaâ programme where farmers are able to use their title deeds to access finance and develop their land. This is one way of poverty eradication in this nation. Yesterday, we urged the Government to allocate more resources towards this Ministry so that apart from implementation and we know that after the land policy has been put in place, the problem will now be implementation. This is a programme that we must all support and ensure that proper policies are put in place. Lastly, we have talked about settlement schemes in this country for many years. I raised the issues of squatters last year. We were told that the Government has put in place arrangements and has been settling squatters all this year but we have lacked clear criteria that determine identification of genuine squatters, identification of suitable land for settlement of these squatters and that ultimately determine the regions. Why should we have squatters settled in Solio Ranch from Aberdares and Mt. Kenya using Kshs1.3 billion that was allocated in 2006/2007 Budget and none is allocated for the squatters in Trans Nzoia or perhaps the squatters in Kibwezi? We remember Mr. Ndile with his squatters in Kibwezi who has fought for so long and up to now as we speak, they remain landless and they are refugees in their own motherland. We also have a similar situation
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in the Coast Province; the situation is so serious. We know the Minister has visited there but we need clear criteria that will address these problems that we have been facing.
Finally, we urge the Government to very quickly put in place an-all-inclusive process where the funds that have been set aside for IDPs--- We would like to know how the Kshs2 billion that was set aside is utilised in the purchase of land and the settlement of the IDPs. We should ensure that only genuine IDPs are settled and not well-connected individuals, particularly those in the Provincial Administration. With those few remarks, I beg to support this very important Motion and urge the Minister to move with speed to put the land policy in place.
Indeed, there is need to harmonise our land ownership system. The multiplicity of laws that govern land have contributed greatly to the ills that go with the land ownership in this country. I will touch on a particular statute that has been used to marginalise our people. This is the Land Title Act. This was referred to as the âLand Title Ordinanceâ before Independence. This statute is only applicable in Coast Province; that is within the 10-mile coastal strip. The Land Title Ordinance was passed by the British Government primarily to dispossess the nations of the Miji Kenda people from their ancestral land. It was passed way back in 1902. During that period, Coast Province was under the command of the Sultan of Zanzibar. The British colony was given the mandate to administer the coastal area by the Sultan of Zanzibar. So, it was a protectorate. In 1902, the British Government passed the Land Title Ordinance. By then, slavery was at its peak. The Miji Kenda people who had settled within the 10- mile strip were forced to run away into the Nyika Plateau. They ran away from people who were looking for slaves. It was during that time that this Ordinance was passed. One of the provisions of this Ordinance was that people were given six months within which to lay their claim with the recorder of titles in Mombasa. The Miji Kenda people had run into the Nyika Plateau and had no knowledge of this Ordinance. The people who took advantage of this Ordinance were the Arabs who were not the indigenous people and had not settled within the 10-mile coastal strip. The claims that were made by the Arabs were fraudulent. One of the conditions for one to lay a claim with the recorder of titles was that you must have some plan within that area and had settled in the area. None of the claimants that laid claims in 1902 had constructive ownership or settlement of these areas. Therefore, most of the claims that were made in 1902 were fraudulently done and yet, the recorder of title approved those claims and titles were issued to mainly Arab settlers within the area. After slavery was abolished, the Miji Kenda left their hideouts and came down to repossess their ancestral land, only to find that title deeds had been issued to people who were not deserving. There began the problem of squatters at the Coast Province. Large chunks of land, all the way from Vanga to Lamu are owned by few people and none of them are indigenous Miji Kenda people. At Independence, the Government had a chance to put right the wrong that was done through the Land Title Ordinance. However, the Independence Government, instead of rejecting the titles that were otherwise fraudulently acquired by the Arabs authenticated the title deeds and, therefore, they became valid documents after Independence. That action by the Independence Government put the final nail on the agony of the Miji Kenda people.
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When we hear the Minister for Lands calling upon the absentee land lords to come out in the open and show us the proof of ownership of the land or else those titles be repossessed, for us that is a step towards the right direction. Most of the land lords who got the land in 1902 are no longer there. The people in Coast Province are being pushed by their descendants who are unable to produce documents of ownership. Therefore, the ultimatum, as given by the Minister in November, last year to produce documents of ownership, to us, is a valid step. Through that, we will know who owns these large tracts of land and how they managed to get that land. This is if they exist. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you go through the Land Policy that was recently approved by the Cabinet, you will find out that one of the major issues that the Ministry intends to do is to look at the way of harmonizing the many sets of laws. This will enable us address historical injustices. We know that historical injustices are prevalent in Coast Province because of the slavery that took place at that time. Therefore, we, the coastal people, applaud this Motion that seeks to harmonise the land tenure system, land ownership and comes up with a uniform process of owning land. That is the correct way to go because it will put an end to the problem that has been there before Independence and has persisted after Independence. With those few remarks, I beg to support this Motion as amended.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also rise to support the Motion as amended. I want to start my contribution by entirely agreeing with the sentiments Mrs. Shabesh has made that âsmallâ people do not have rights to ownership of land in this country. It is true that the only people who are considered when it comes to land issuance are âbigâ people. These are people who own over 20,000 acres of land. None of the pieces of land that are owned by âbigâ people have ever been invaded by squatters. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also agree with Mr. Mbadi that the current Minister for Lands is a reformist who is very committed to land reforms. If land reforms will not be achieved during the tenure of Mr. Orengo as the Minister for Lands, then they will never be achieved. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is not the lease or an Act that is written on a piece of paper that will guarantee the ownership of land in this country. I want to tell my colleagues here that it is very important for us to obey the law in this country. If a farmer holds a 99 years leasehold title for a 5, 10, 20 or 30 acre piece of land and the law does not protect his ownership of that land, whatever reforms that we will bring in will be a waste of time. Today, we have farmers who have title deeds which have been sanctioned by the Minister for Lands and signed by the Commissioner of Lands and yet, they do not own those pieces of land. Those people worked hard and bought those pieces of land. Those people were forcefully evicted from their rightful pieces of land. That crime has been committed by Kenyans against their brothers and yet, we have a law in place that protects private ownership. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if I evict one of my colleagues here from his plot in Nairobi and occupy it because he is from Western Kenya or Coast and thus a âforeignerâ, we will not achieve any reforms. I want to urge my colleagues to obey the law that is in place. We should go back to the people that we represent and tell them that the laws about land must be respected first, even before we change them. We have the Ndungâu Report, which is still pending. That report has given the Government the
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guidance on the way forward. It has stated what should be done about land reforms. The Government spent a lot of money to come up with the Ndungâu Report. But it has kept quiet about the report. Soon or later, another Commission will be appointed, probably by the current Minister, to deal with the same issue. That is why I am saying that we must obey the laws of the land. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also want to talk about people who have been allocated land for political reasons. During the previous regime, I know some people who were compromised on political issues and were given thousands of acres of land. Those people were in high Government positions and they were compromised to protect the system at that time. They are not in the current Government. We have the current Government and sooner or later, we will have another Government. We will have another Government and Kenya will continue like that until the end of the world. It is a waste of time for us to talk about land reforms when we have people who have been allocated pieces of land without paying a single cent and yet, poor Kenyans are languishing out there looking for even half an acre to settle on. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the people who were evicted from their pieces of land during the post- election violence are still languishing in the streets. Some of them are still residing in makeshift (IDP) camps. What measures are being put in place to find out where the people who own over 100,000 acres of land bought it from? Who sold it to them? They should produce their sale agreements. If they were allotted and they are not doing anything with those pieces of land, then that land can be re-allocated to the poor Kenyans, who do not own any land. If the situation demands, then the Government should purchase those pieces of land and allocate them to poor Kenyans. Kenya depends on agricultural production. We have the National Youth Service that we spend a lot of money to train. They take two to three years to train. Some of them join the military while others join the Police Force. However, we still have young men at the NYS. We have prisoners who are squeezed in small cells in our prisons. Why should an individual own 100,000 acres of land? We should give 90,000 acres to NYS to grow food for Kenyans. We feed our prisoners, give them medication and clothes and yet, at the end of the day, they do not do anything that gives a return on what the country contributes to maintain them. About 1 million acres of land have been proposed to be leased to a Middle East company down at the Coast for farming. Our prisoners, with the equipment that we have in our prisons and at the NYS, can grow food for this country and Kenya will not import foodstuffs. That will reduce the cost of buying food. The Government will also buy that food and, at least, have some money to pay the prisoners before they are released from prison. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, land is what Kenyans know and anybody who plays around with their land, plays with their lives. With those very many words, I beg to support.
There being no other person willing to contribute, may I call upon the Mover to reply. He is not here and I will put the Question.
(Question, that words to be left out be left out put and agreed to)
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(Question of the Motion as amended put and agreed to)
THAT, aware that the Government has granted leases for land in settlement schemes ranging from 99 to 999 years and freehold titles to others in the localities; appreciating the need to harmonize land tenures in the same area; this House urges the Government to adopt a uniform land title policy for agricultural settlement schemes to facilitate enhanced agricultural output.
INCREASE OF BUDGETARY ALLOCATION TO NORTHERN KENYA AND OTHER ARID LANDS
Thank you very much, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to move this Motion. Before I read the Motion, I would like to let the House know that, under the Standing Order No.48, I will amend the Motion by adding some words that I will read.
THAT, noting the past and continued marginalization of the northern Kenya; aware that because of the prolonged neglect, the entire region has lagged behind in development compared to other parts of Kenya; cognizant of the fact that the inhabitants of the region are tax payers with equal human and legal rights like other Kenyans entitled to all the services provided by the Government, including adequate security and infrastructural facilities such as road network to open up the region; appreciating the efforts of the Grand Coalition Government in establishing the Ministry for the Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands as a strategy to address these historical imbalances, this House urges the Minister for Finance to increase budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands to at least 15 per cent per annum of the Development Budget for the next decade, in line with the Governmentâs recent positive approach towards the development and transformation of this region.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I move this Motion knowing that it probably affects the entire population of Kenyan. This Motion is not intended for northern Kenya and other arid lands only, because nearly 75 per cent of the land mass of this country has been categorised as ASAL. Therefore, this Motion affects the people who live in Limuru, other parts of Central Kenya, parts of Eastern Province, parts of Rift Valley Province,
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parts of Western Kenya, parts of Coast, and the North Eastern Provinces. Therefore, that tells you that nearly 75 per cent of this countryâs population is affected.
The intention of the Motion is basically to achieve equal opportunities for all in this country. Within this term of Parliament, this House, in its wisdom, established the Equal Opportunities Committee, which means that it is the desire of all Members of Parliament, the Government and the Kenyan people to provide an opportunity for all to realise our full potential as citizens of this country. First of all, as we thank the President and the Prime Minister, we ask them not to make this Ministry a permanent feature of our Cabinet. This Ministry must remain in our books in as long as it is just necessary. I think it can only be necessary for not more than a decade. For ten years, we run it in order to fast track development and bring this part of the country at par with the rest of the country. Therefore, for it to be a permanent Ministry, will be a disservice to the people in regions affected. So, the first suggestion is for this Ministry to be maintained in place for not more than ten years. Secondly, this Ministry should not be seen as a Ministry for northern Kenya. It must be seen as a Ministry that the Kenyan people require in order to fast track development, because the problems that have happened in this part of the country were not the fault of this Government. They were not the fault of the Kenyan people. It is a historical problem that the Government is beginning to address. Therefore, the starting point is to thank the Kenyan people for accepting it, and thank the Government for having realised that development in this region needs to be fast-tracked in order to bring it at par with the rest of the country. Therefore, what we are asking for is 15 per cent only of the Development Budget. We have calculated this to mean Kshs30 billion. If this Ministry is allocated Kshs30 billion for ten years, for the purposes that I will enumerate, to an extent, we can say that this country is now beginning to realise equal opportunities for all, which is what we want for all Kenyans. This is not for only northern Kenya. It is for all the provinces of Kenya that have had this problem over the years. So, there should be no suggestion in the mind of anybody â Members of Parliament or other people, this desire is only meant to benefit the northern Kenya region. It is not. The mandate of the Ministry suggests that it covers 75- 80 per cent of the Kenyan land mass. It does not cover 10 per cent. It covers Kangundo, Mandera, Moyale and other places. All of us, including the people in the constituency of hon. Kabando wa Kabando, are affected.
This is a problem for all of us. It is not for one region or one people. It is for the Kenyan people generally. The historical imbalances happened, not as a result of our choice, but as a colonial legacy. We are trying to deal with it through constitutional reforms. We are happy that the Kenyan Government has finally decided that we need to fast track development in all parts of the country, so that we feel that this countryâs potential is fully realized. Right now, the potential is not fully realized.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are asking for 15 per cent which is KShs30 billion. That is not enough. We want an equal amount of money to come from the development partners, so that we can combine. The Motion talks about the development of northern Kenya. It begins to imagine that there is little development or none at all. Therefore, we are thinking about reconstructing Kenya. It is about 80 per cent of the Kenya land mass and we are imagining it is reconstruction. For us to think about
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the reconstruction of the country, we must provide resources. That is why the Ministry was established. We had established some displeasure with the appointments made because even though it was meant for programmes in the northern part of this country, the Minister, PS and Assistant Minister need not have come from northern Kenya. They could have come from any part of this country. It does not mean they do not qualify, but to suggest that those are the only ones who are capable of understanding the problems in northern Kenya is a sort of marginalization in itself.
Therefore, we wanted a mixed breed so that a Kenyan from any part of the country can serve in the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands. It does not have to be me. Mr. Kabando wa Kabando or the Deputy Chief Whip can also be Ministers in that Ministry. That is the begging point. We must appreciate that the Ministry was for Kenyan people. It was not meant for a certain community. You do not look at the managers of a Ministry and say: âThis is for northern Kenya; it has nothing to do with us.â The construct was good, but the appointments should have been well thought out.
Right now, there is a mixture. The PS comes from another part of the country and not northern Kenya. This should have been done in the beginning when the Ministry was established, so that we do not allow people from that area alone to imagine this is their Ministry. It should be a Ministry for all of us.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, studies in China and India have shown that investing in arid lands have the best returns. We know about 70 per cent of the land mass is arid and semi arid. Therefore, the development of the Kenyan population has been along the corridor line. About 50 kilometers on both sides of the corridor line has been where massive investments have happened. Central Kenya, Western Kenya, Rift Valley, Eastern Kenya, all along the corridor line. There is a lot of congestion and over- population on 50 per cent on both sides of the corridor line. Yet, 80 per cent of the land mass is vacant because of infrastructural problems.
We have no possibility as a country to imagine integration when we are all concentrated around 50 kilometres of corridor line.
Before the construction of Garissa Road, there were very few Kenyans who were not residents of the North Eastern Province in Garissa Town. If you go to Garissa Town today, the population is huge. It means, therefore, that the development of the road network has allowed more Kenyans to venture out from their rural settings to find possibility of work, trade and business in that part of the country. Garissa Town is becoming a city. It is fast growing. It is not just growing because of the local population, but because the entire membership of the Kenyan people are now in Garissa Town. It is not growing just because of the local population, but all Kenyans are now domiciled in Garissa. When we had the post election violence, Garissa was the most peaceful.
Nobody was bothered about where the other comes from or whether someone voted ODM or PNU. The only thing that mattered was that you are a Kenyan who was in Garissa to trade. This tells you that if you open up your country, you can achieve national integration faster than if you closed it. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have just continued to re-carpet the roads that were done by the Colonial Government. We are opening up Uhuru Highway but a few years ago, it was so congested. We had what was left by the Colonial Government. Governments came and re-carpeted the road but had no innovation to improve or expand
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it. I, therefore, think that the need has been realized. What now remains is to provide resources. We need to provide resources so that Kenyans can begin to get value for money. Right now Kenya trades with Ethiopia to the tune of Kshs3 billion. If the road network was opened from Eastern Province all the way to Moyale, income from trade would shoot to Kshs17 billion. That is the return that we would get in the countryâs economy. Therefore, we are not investing in vain. We are investing knowing that the return is five times what we are achieving today. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the livestock industry does not exist, yet the tool of trade in northern Kenya is livestock. We do not have a single abattoir from Moyale all the way to Turkana and down to Mandera. This is the situation, yet we are supposed to improve the livelihood of the people in these places. I am sure many of our leaders have confirmed their willingness to invest and find donors for this part of the country. However, it has never been concrete so that it can be included in the Budget. Politically speaking, the entire Membership of the House and the political leadership in this country has realized the necessity to develop but we require the Minister for Finance to factor this in the Budget. It has been suggested that if we develop the livestock industry, 2.5 million Kenyans will find jobs on a daily basis. Those who would get informal jobs would also be about 3 million. Therefore, we can provide resources for 5 million to 6 million Kenyans who live in that part of the country. If that project is that viable, what is Kshs30 billion? We want to develop a country called Kenya. We want to integrate it properly. We want to make sure that all Kenyans can travel and own property anywhere in this country. We cannot, however, live or own property where returns are low. Returns are low if we do not invest. Therefore, I am saying that we must invest. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Moyale and Marsabit have huge potential for agriculture. If you go to Marsabit, you will think you are in Limuru. Therefore, we need to see whether we can invest in agriculture in this part of the country. If we put in money and irrigate the land, I swear, we will never import food. I know the Vice- President and Minister for Home Affairs and Mr. Wamalwa have travelled by road from Isiolo to Moyale and Moyale to Sololo. I know they appreciate the dilemma in which we are in. We need people to travel in order to understand the beauty of Kenya. The only way we can factor in the Budget some money is when we travel out. That is why I said in another Motion that we must have rotational Sittings of the House. This will make us appreciate that this country has more than we can ever imagine. We will appreciate that we do not need to import food because this country can feed us. We also do not need to import âeducationâ because this country can educate us if we invest positively. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you visit Marsabit District, you will think that you are in Limuru. It experiences climatic conditions that are exactly the same as those in Central Kenya. However, it lacks commitment in terms of resources in order to produce food so that we do not import food like we are doing now. We spend nearly Kshs10 billion to Kshs15 billion to feed Kenyans, whereas if we invested only Kshs30 billion annually for ten years, we would feed this country and export surplus food to the neighbouring countries and even beyond. Water is plenty in northern Kenya. It only requires investment as the hon. Member has said. If the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid
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Lands is allocated these resources, a place like Habaswein can supply water to Nairobi for 200 years. This is because the water has been drained into the Lorian Swamp. Should we have water rationing in the City of Nairobi if we constantly supply it with water for 200 years? We have underground water and we only need money. That is why the people who thought about the establishment of this Ministry had a focus and vision. However, we want that focus and vision to be complemented actively by investment. You cannot achieve the vision if you do not invest substantially in this Ministry. This will substantially improve the security challenges that we face in Kenya today. Insecurity is scaring away tourists from coming to Kenya. If we develop the road network between Nairobi and Moyale---