Muhammad A. Swazuri, Tom Aziz Chavangi, Fibian Lukalo, Esterina Dokhe

The Government of Kenya through its Vision 2030 blue print for social, economic and political development has been implementing various flagship projects. This automatically gives rise to a need for land, on which most projects are to be based. Whereas there is available public land in Kenya to undertake public functions and projects, the acreage is relatively small in comparison to the need. This automatically calls for compulsory acquisition of other lands to supplement the public land. Land in Kenya is categorized into three, namely private (16%), public (17%) and community (67%). Whenever the government wants to acquire land for public infrastructural development, it can only acquire private and community land. The body mandated to compulsorily acquire land for public use is the National Land Commission. This is provided in Articles 66 and 67 of the Constitution of Kenya, Sections 107-135 of the 2012 Land Act. Article 40 of the Kenyan constitution and Section 107 of the Land Act provide for the procedure of acquiring land for public use. This procedure is initiated through a request by either the Cabinet Secretary of a Ministry for the national government, or by a County Executive Committee Member (CECM) of a Department for a county government. In 2014, the National Land Commission received a request to undertake compulsory acquisition for various projects in Lamu County, which has had several public projects earmarked and some implemented such as the LAPSSET Project, Coal Plant and Kenwind Power Project. Lamu County is located in the Northern Coast of Kenya and is one of the six coastal counties in Kenya. The County has a land surface of 6,273.1 km that include the mainland and over 65 islands that form the Lamu Archipelago. The total length of the coastline is 130 km while land water mass area stands at 308 km. The Lamu county population as at 2012 stood at 112,252 persons composed of 58,641 males and 53,611 females. However, this number increased exponentially with the onset of the LAPSSET project that attracted a huge migrant population estimated to be over one million. The most lucrative destination for them is on undeveloped public land, and other occupied areas such as wildlife corridors, riparian reserves, trading areas, grazing corridors, and public utility plots. There is thus an urgent need for the utility areas to be surveyed, documented and reserved as such. This paper describes the experiences the National Land Commission has had while executing its mandate in compulsory acquisition in Lamu County and how it is tackling the squatter concerns. The main lesson learnt is that while the laws are very clear on the role, functions and duties of the Commission in acquiring land, there is lack of knowledge on the part of the project affected persons on procedures and responsibilities in public land acquisitions. 3 This has slowed down the processes of land acquisition, thereby leading to delays and escalated costs. It is highly recommended that civic education and compulsory land acquisition is necessary, and so is the cooperation of political elected leaders.

Event: Land Governance in an Interconnected World_Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty_2018

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