Kenya: System to Curb Land Graft


The Ministry of Lands and its registries across the country have, for years, been synonymous with corruption. The sector has been in the grips of cartels that have defied efforts to rid it of the menace.

Not even the establishment of the National Land Commission (NLC), which had been touted as the solution, has had the desired impact. Instead, even some NLC top officials have ended up being hauled to court to answer graft charges.

Land is always so lucrative that the crooks either falsify records or steal land titles. The lands sector has always featured in reports on the most corrupt government institutions and departments. The manual lands register has, for decades, enabled cartels to thrive because of the ease with which it is manipulated and falsified.

Digitising land records

Therefore, the digitisation of the lands register is good news. The National Land Informational Management System should help put an end to the shenanigans in the registries by digitising land records. It should ease title transfers and also safeguard public land from grabbers. Streamlining lands records will prevent rampant corruption.

The crooks often exploit the tedious manual land searches. The new digital system provides solutions at the click of a button, making it unnecessary to make physical visits to the registries. Landowners and buyers will, initially in Nairobi, and later in other counties, be able to remotely conduct searches, apply for title deeds, sell land and carry out almost every other transaction.

Land, being such a treasured asset, simply digitising operations does not mean that the crooks have been put out of work. Even digital systems can get hacked into, hence the need to be more alert and regularly monitor to ensure that they are not compromised. The reduction of human interaction in land transactions is the best way to curb delays and graft in the registries.

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