25 June 2018

Kenya: Farida Karoney Says Mapping of Kenya, Somalia Border Has Stalled

The surveying and mapping of the Kenya-Somalia border has delayed because of lack of funds.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said only 24km out of the targeted 150km have been surveyed and mapped since the project started in 2016.

Kenya was targeting to spend more than Sh5.6 billion to carry out survey, mapping and maintenance of its international boundaries.

AU OBLIGATION

The country is under obligation to carry out the exercise in conjunction with her neighbours-Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Sudan, according to a 2014 report by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The report titled "Progress Made in Fulfilling the International Obligations of the Republic", was tabled by Mr Kenyatta in Parliament saying the country is required to submit International Boundary Surveys to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) by 2017 together with accompanying treaties.

Despite the delay in releasing funds for the project, Ms Karoney said the Lands ministry had carried out digital surveys on 10,000 out of the targeted 20,000 land parcel boundaries.

"The ministry's low absorption rate is partly attributed to delay in the release of development funds by the National Treasury," said Ms Karoney.

BORDER ROWS

Ms Karoney was speaking on Friday during a retreat for Parliament's Land Committee at English Pont Marina hotel in Mombasa.

The Lands minister said the surveying and maintaining of the national and international boundaries will ensure peaceful co-existence with neighbours.

Already, fishermen in Nyanza are crying foul over continued harassment by Uganda security officers over fishing in Lake Victoria.

Kenya also conducted a joint border demarcation with Uganda after a dispute arose over the control of the fish-rich Migingo and Ugingo islands.

The boundary row has not yet been settled even though the East African Community minister, Peter Munya has recently proposed creation of an inter-state agency to manage Lake Victoria over boundary squabbles.

Kenya is also involved in a row with Somalia over maritime border, raising concern that the conflict may deter firms from exploration of offshore oil and gas.

The ministry, Ms Karoney said, was using meagre resources to carry out its activities in bid to fulfil government agenda.

TITLE DEEDS

She said that the ministry has since January issued 168,612 title deeds which are part of the National Titling Program with the government planning to issue out 350,000 title deeds annually.

"A total of 1,669 households out of a target of 5,000 families have been settled in the country with Shimoni in Kwale leading with 1,204 households," said Ms Karoney.

Scores of families have been settled in Trans Nzoia and Lamu counties.

Demarcation, survey and verification of squatters in Lekiji, Marekebuni, Maweni, Waa, Mbunguni Phase III, Mwakirunge Phase I and Shika Adabu settlement schemes is ongoing.

Local physical development-advisory plan for Lekiji was completed last November. We have now finalised 14 local physical development plans to support the improvement of informal settlements in Kilifi, Nyeri, Garissa and Nairobi," she said.

ABSENTEE LANDLORDS

Likoni MP Misho Mboko asked the ministry to address the issue of absentee landlords in the Coast, saying it has affected effecient use of land for development.

"In my constituency, there are chunks of idle land that cannot be developed and the owners cannot be traced. They are not there in the first place," said Ms Mboko.

The legislators also asked the minister to consider transferring officers who have overstayed in one station to prevent mushrooming of land grabbing cartels.

"We are aware that some officers have stayed for more than 20 years in one station, but we are currently addressing the matter. Since it is a process, don't expect it to be completed now," she said.

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