1 February 2018

Kenya: Kalonzo Musyoka Denies Illegally Possessing NYS Land

National Super Alliance co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka is among individuals likely to lose land across the country following President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive on Thursday that property irregularly and illegally acquired from the National Youth Service be repossessed.

President Kenyatta's directive during a brief tour of the NYS textile and garment technology institute in Nairobi will affect individuals and companies.

"Land previously owned by NYS will be returned to the institution for active programmes that will help the youth in employment. The State will put all resources at its disposal to ensure that NYS succeeds in this," the President said.

KALONZO DENIES

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua told the Senate committee on County Public Accounts and Investments on November 30, 2016 that Mr Musyoka had used his position as vice-president to influence the allocation of 500 acres of NYS land in Yatta, Machakos, to himself and proxies.

He also wrote to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, National Land Commission and the Commission on Administrative Justice to have the matter investigated.

Mr Musyoka has since denied the claim with former Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, now Kitui Governor, coming to his defence.

Article 135 of the Constitution however requires the President to issue instructions of such nature in writing, complete with his signature and a seal.

OATH PLAN

This means that the President, through the NYS management, is required to write to the National Land Commission presenting his case on the need to repossess illegally acquired NYS land.

The President's roadside declaration comes at a time when Mr Musyoka has come under heavy criticism from some of his supporters and Nasa leaders following his failure on Tuesday to attend a ceremony to 'swear' him in and Mr Raila Odinga as the 'People's President' and Deputy.

The issue of the NYS land is among thousands of cases that the National Land Commission is supposed to sort out.

The commission is empowered by the constitution to direct the registrar of lands to revoke titles acquired in an unlawful manner.

TERM EXTENSION

But what may delay the process of repossessing the thousands of acres of public land in the wrong hands is the fact that the mandate of the commission to conclude the review of grants and disposition of public land in dispute expired in May last year.

Commission Vice-Chairperson Abigail Mbagaya said an application has since been made to Parliament to have section 14 of NLC Act amended as well as extend the commissioners' term, which ends on January 2019, to conclude the process.

"With our mandate to review grants and dispositions having expired, we cannot listen to thousands of new cases where public land is in private hands," Ms Mbagaya said, noting that at least 10,000 cases across the country are pending.

DEEDS CANCELLED

The commission began reviewing the grants and dispositions to public land on April 21, 2014 and, according to Ms Mbagaya, over 7,000 titles have been revoked and land returned to the relevant government agencies.

The review and revocation of titles conferred on the commission was previously a preserve of the High Court under the repealed constitution and land statutes.

Some of the disputes had been active for over 70 years.

The recoveries include ranches covering over 32 per cent of Lamu County, which is 1.6 million acres.

The land was returned to the county government.

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