In this interactive series, we invite our readers to send in questions to select public figures. Answers will be published in the next print and online editions.
Land acquisition during Phase I of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) construction had many legal disputes on valuation and land ownership. What is the National Land Commission doing to address this problem during Phase II?
Winnie Adhiambo, Nairobi
Delay in the release of compensation funds for those affected by SGR is usually blamed on the Treasury and the Transport ministry. Are funds available to compensate land owners and other people affected by the project during Phase II to avoid construction bottlenecks?
Gitau Mwangi, Narok
Land acquisition has been a hurdle in the implementation of major infrastructure projects. What is the NLC doing to address the issue?
James Chenjur, Kiambu
As the chairman of the commission, are you aware of allegations that your staff and those at the Kenya Railways colluded to siphon hundreds of millions of shillings from the SGR kitty in the guise of compensating land owners yet the real owners received a raw deal and some of them have not been paid to date?
Steven Zuma, Nairobi
What’s your view on the advisory opinion of the Supreme Court on the mandates of the commission and the Lands ministry; don’t you feel that the NLC’s powers were watered down?
Bill Omboki, Nairobi
Last year, schools without title deeds filled the necessary papers to enable them to acquire the vital documents but nothing has happened. Instead, we hear the Lands Cabinet Secretary lamenting that schools have no titles. Kindly explain this process.
Ayub Njenga, Mukurweini Boys High School
Is there a powerful hidden hand behind the failure by the NLC to compensate genuine land owners in the Coast whose property was seized for the construction of SGR?
Halima Dahib, Voi, Taita-Taveta County
Sir, what is the commission doing to end the squatter problem, especially in Nyakio location of Nyandarua County?
Sam Mwinga, Nairobi
Should government agencies pay for way leave, especially in situations where both are financed by the exchequer?
Is it true that NLC has taken over the case of Nyakinyua land in Ol Kalou pitting the group against the JM Kariuki family? If so, what next?
Solomon Nderitu, Nakuru
Prof Swazuri, why is your commission unable to rule on the Kakamega Sports Club case more than one year after our final submissions? Some of us are innocent buyers of the plots and we have genuine title deeds. Why don’t you save us time and agony by making the final ruling so that we know our fate?
Stephen Yeswa, Lurambi, Kakamega County
When will NLC tackle the issue of squatters living in Mazuri land, especially in the Msabaha area of Malindi, who settled there even before independence?
The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company last year acquired wayleaves and Naivasha/Mwiciringiri was one of the affected areas. My chamaa’s land is affected and we will be compensated. However, we do not know exactly where the wires will cut across in our land and we have no idea how our land will be distorted as a result. What recourse do we have in order to find out if we desire a higher compensation than the one indicated?
Githuku Mungai, Nairobi
Prof Swazuri, the Ndung’u Commission report on land grabbing named a number of prominent people. How much such land has been repossessed from such people since you came into office?
Edward B Wekesa, Eldoret
Edward B Wekesa, Eldoret
What happened to the land owned by the now defunct local authorities after the county governments took over?
Are you aware part of the land on which the Ministry of Water offices stand in Eldoret Town has been grabbed?
Edward B Wekesa, Eldoret
I have a concern on a plot that we bought more than 12 years ago in Nyeri and we have original documents, including the cautions against any transactions. But the Lands ministry issued a title deed to another person whom we think used a forged identity card. We reported the matter to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations but were advised to apply for cancellation of title in court. Why are the officers who issued another title still in office and how do we recover our property?
What is the location and size of the land that Kenya Railways has so far transferred to the Kenya Railways Pensions Scheme on account of failing to remit monthly deductions over the years, and was the transfer transparent?
Githuku Mungai, Nairobi
Sir, you are doing a good job in ensuring titles are issued. My query is in regard to title issuance in Mutuati and Antubetwe in Meru County. The process began in 1979 and has been ongoing. The result has always been grabbing and dispossession of land from the weak in society by the rich in collusion with ministry officials. What efforts has your commission put in place to ensure issuance of titles to the right owners?
Peter Kithinji, Meru
Why do you seem to concentrate less on the landless, including freedom fighters, and the displaced whose cries are not heard?
Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi
Prof Swazuri, you have been at the forefront in recovering public land. I would like to know whether road reserves are public land and if so, why are people blocking these roads?
Agnes Wambui, Embu
Last year you told people with land certificates to register them in the Kiambu and Thika offices so that NLC can assist them with processing title deeds. Since then we have not heard anything from the authorities. Whenever we enquire at the government land offices we are sent to the companies that sold those pieces of land . What are you doing to solve this?
James Kimani, Kiambu
What is the position of the Kibra land? You seem to hold their lease Title No 240 of 2013 over discriminatory allegations that the community is not united. Have you gone to Kibra to address the community to confirm these allegations?
Asina Seby, Nairobi
Why had NLC refused to pay the former county land management boards in the country?
Sir, we are house owners of Sparki in Tudor, Mombasa. In 1988, a presidential decree was made that all house owners were to be issued with title deeds after paying Sh15,000/Sh30,000. During your visit to Mombasa last year we informed you about our plight and gave you a set of documents which you promised to look at and try to arbitrate between us and the landlords who are asking for Sh8 million. When will you resolve this?
You were always at loggerheads with the former Land Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu. Do you think her removal was prudent and has it made things smooth?
Edward Wanjala Mangoli, Kabuchai
Recently, a directive was made for all public schools to acquire titles for their land. How many have complied and has an audit been undertaken?
Mr chairman, the Eldoret Land Registry does not have the face of Kenya, with the top officials all coming from the same community. What measures can be taken to correct this?
Oluchina Antony, Eldoret
I went for a hearing of a land matter on November 18, 2016 and a subsequent one on December 2, 2016 where the commission confirmed it was ready to make a determination. Since then, this has not happened and I am losing a lot of money daily since my project has stalled. When can we have this determination?
Herman Kariuki, Kiambu
Prof, many Kenyans who know the challenges and frustrations you have endured in the commission, believe you should have resigned a long time ago! What keeps you going and do you believe you will ever achieve what you set out to do as the pioneer chair of the commission?
Komen Moris, Eldoret
The Lands ministry has often been described as the epicenter of corruption. Has the situation changed?
Wanjiku wa Karago, Ruiru
Land cartels in Muhoroni grabbed a parcel belonging to my late father on December 9, 2015. I reported the issue to NLC in January but since then my letter has neither been acknowledged nor any action taken. Why is this so and what can be done to help me?
Shem A Onyuro, Kisumu
I live and farm on land with documentary proof of ownership. But in 2011 a surveyor allocated the land to a District Commissioner and I have been threatened with eviction. How can you help me?
Bramwell Mbatha Musyoka
I kindly wish to know if my plot at Maganda Squatter Settlement Scheme in Miritini, Mombasa has been taken by the SGR and if so, what resettlement options or payments are due to me?
Due to a change in law, the County Land Management Board members were summarily dismissed by NLC, yet they had signed a contract to serve for five years. Would you explain why the contract termination was not handled as it should be by buying off the remaining period?
In 2013, NLC slapped an embargo on land in Watamu, specifically Chembe Kibambamshe and Kilifi/Madeteni. Some time in 2015, NLC officials vetted all this land to identify rightful owners and possibly lift the embargo. What was the outcome of the vetting?
What plans do you have to reconstitute the County Land Management Boards as promised last year?
Lukas Barake, Ogango, Nyamira County
What is the government doing about the plight of the Nubian community in regards to the issue of Kibra land in Nairobi?
Idris Yusuf, Nairobi
High Court ruled that the government has been issuing title deeds unprocedurally since 2013 without the involvement of NLC. The government has refuted the claim during campaigns to mobilise voters, especially in Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa counties. Are the title deeds fake?
Derek Liech, Mombasa County
When will the NLC gazette the inquiry to compensate land and business owners affected by the James Gichuru-Rironi road expansion?
James Munywe, Zambezi, Kiambu
What is the progress on the land parcel No CIS-Mara/olopito 788 at the outskirts of Narok Township which was surveyed and subdivided in early 1980s and whose mutation documents went missing?
Robert Ayukah, Narok Town
Are you aware of public land grabbing in Bungoma and what can be done to stop it?
Evans Wanyonyi, Bungoma
During the recent public hearing on Review of Grants and Disposition convened by the NLC at the Thika Town Hall chambers, the commission found a local church to have falsified documents in an effort to justify its occupation of land reserved for a public primary school in Thika municipality, Kiambu County. The church has disobeyed vacation orders. What steps will you take to reclaim the land?
Jacob Anyangu, Thika
Have you thought of ways that chiefs and their assistants can be involved in safekeeping of public land?
Sir, it appears government officers are compromised everywhere. We complain but in the end, our children are forced to play on roads or pavements because parcels of land, which were once playgrounds in South C, Nairobi, have been grabbed. How can the commission help us get our children’s playgrounds back?
Ranjana Bharaj, South C, Nairobi
Foreigners were permitted to hold land only on the basis of leasehold tenure. In 2013 NLC issued a public notice to all non-citizens “owning” land. I sent a letter to NLC. To date, despite meeting all NLC requirements and deadlines as well as fruitless exchanges of correspondence, I do not have a leasehold certificate. When will NLC issue my Certificate of Lease?
Andrew J Franklin, Nairobi
Lorien Ranching Company was incorporated over 30 years ago but has not been able to subdivide land to its members due to numerous court cases between two groups. Currently there is a pending case in Nyeri. The company has 5,000 members who desperately require your attention. We saw how the President, the Land ministry, NLC and the Judiciary handled the Kihiu Mwiri land-buying company saga in Murang’a County. How can you help and can your commission be enjoined in the pending case in the Nyeri Court?Thuo Kinyatti, Murang’a County
What happened to the compensation to the people whose land was hived off during the tarmacking of the Iten-Kapsowar road?Ronald Kibet, Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County
I refer to a land case that has been pending in court for 30 years in Murang’a County. The plot is Nyakinga (number withheld) which was subdivided and the transaction was unlawfully done because already there was a court case. We request the commission to intervene so that the subdivided plot can be refunded to the original plot in Murang’a county. Thuo Kinyatti, Murang’a County
We entered into an agreement to buy a plot of land within Thika Municipality on November 6, 1985 where she had appointed by way of a registered power of attorney Thika Land Development Company (1984) Ltd to develop, subdivide and sell. I bought plot NO. 10. I have over years, together with other buyers tried to get our plots in vain. How can you help us as we get old and some have passed on.John Muriuki Kang’ara, Murang’a
Greetings Chairman Swazuri. Thanks for your good work. The public land, especially belonging to schools and churches, is massively being grabbed by the powerful personalities yet they remain free. Does it mean that you are powerless in dealing with land issues or is your commission just a political compromise?George Busolo, Vihiga County
The omnibus Bill on land laws repealed Section 18 of NLC Act 2012. Subsequently, NLC’s devolved units (County Land Management Board) were scrapped. Was this constitutional? How will the recommended committees independently handle sensitive land maters as opposed to CLMB members who took oath of office before high court judge?Bernard K Kimutai, Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet
How is NLC exercising its authority to overseer spatial planning in the country? Who has final say in planning approval? NLC or County government?Bernard K Kimutai, Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet
Sir, I am sure you are aware land grabbers have invaded Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation land in Mwea. How can this problem be resolved once and for all?Gitonga Njoroge, Mwea
Dr Swazuri, I salute you for the good work concerning land. There is this land Solai Nyakinyua Lari also called Oljorai in Nakuru County. Why the two names for the same land. Do you see future problems if what I hear is true that a powerful individual in the Kanu era exchanged the two? How far is the demarcation and the issuance of the title deeds?Mr Rowlands Gitau Kariuki, Nakuru
Dear Prof Swazuri, what measures have NLC taken to restitute innocent Kenyans who bought the Waa B plots having done all due diligence checks and followed up their transfers legally to the dot but the National Museums subsequently declared it Kaya? This was an injustice on the part of the government on those with the titles but advised by the Museums that they can use their plots but no guidelines ever issued. Furthermore restitution to similar property as alternative was never advised. John Mburu
You have been lamenting on the high cost of construction of the SGR due to land acquisition. What policies do you have in place to restrict erecting buildings along the planned future dual carriageways? Joseph Mathenge, Nakuru
I made an agreement with my brother-in-law to sell a piece of land to me but I had to make a down payment first to assist him do a succession from his father who died before he could transfer to him. After succession was complete, he decided to sell the same piece of land to another person without my consent and when I learnt about it I presented my grievances to the area district commissioner who ordered a caution to the parties but they ignored it and instead they faked a transfer of the land from the dead father. This case has been in and out of the court with no hopes at all. Where should I go or what should I do?James Misoga, Kabete
Have you thought of ways that Chiefs and Assistant-Chiefs can be involved in safekeeping of public land? Michael Kinyua
Sir, it appears government officers are compromised everywhere. We complain but I the end we just see our children playing on roads or pavements because the following LRs, among others, which were once playgrounds (public land) within various estates in South C, Nairobi, have now been either been grabbed or developed under very questionable circumstances (numbers withheld). Ours is only one request, give us our children’s playgrounds back and maybe you can also request the county government to mark them ‘ not for grabs’ so that residents can restore them into playgrounds again.
Ranjana Bharaj, South C Resident Association
I brought to Land Ministry my consent to transfer letter from Embakasi Ranch in 2006 but to date I have not gotten the title deed. How can you help?Nancy EW David, Nairobi
There are many land buying companies and co-operatives in Murang’a, Kiambu, Nairobi, Machakos and Kajiado. What are you doing to ensure that members of these bodies have got their title deeds as most of the officials want to continue issuing certificates which are not accepted by financial institutions? Patrick Muthari, Thika Sir, I applied for lease extension but from 2012 to date the NLC has kept me waiting. Can you help?Mark Kibwot, Baringo County
Thank you for your assistance with my daughter’s grabbed land Plot no. 538 Kararu, Nanyuki. This matter is being handled by your office efficiently but frustrated by the Ministry. For instance, what happens when your office refers a citizen to Ministry of Lands and Ministry Officials say that a file is missing? Why should citizens suffer yet officials are the custodians of these documents? Please save my daughter from eviction.Paul Mwangi Gitahi, Nanyuki
Sir, we have so many cases in courts concerning land which have lasted for so many decades and have not been settled. How can NLC work with the Judiciary to get a lasting solution?Wa Purity, Murang’a County
Can you please follow up the gangs who have invaded private land, especially in Nairobi’s Kasarani, and tell us how you are going to assist in evicting them putting in mind that the cartels are protected by some people in the security sector and have even put up buildings in the grabbed land.Simon Njoroge, Githurai
Kenyans thought that the creation of your commission was to be a panacea to land related problems in this country more especially in the coast where you come from and where the problem dominates. As residents of the coast Mombasa County in particular thought that you were God sent since you understand the problem. Unfortunately, we have never witnessed before the massive land grabbing and squatters eviction in coast as it has been for the last six year when you are at the helm of the commission. When evictions are done in most cases, your pronouncements seem to favour the evictors citing the sanctify of the title deeds which in most cases were fraudulently obtained. Have you been compromised by the cartels?
Benard Nyang’ondi, Mombasa
Article 65(1) of the Constitution revoked all Freehold Titles held by non-citizens; foreigners were permitted to hold land only on the basis of leasehold tenure. On June 14, 2013 the NLC issued a public notice to all non-citizens “owning “ land in Kenya. I sent a letter to NLC dated July 26, 2013 was delivered to you at NLC on 30 July 30, 2013. To date – despite meeting all NLC requirements and deadlines as well as fruitless exchanges of correspondence – I do not have a Leasehold Certificate. Question: When will NLC issue my Certificate of Lease?
Andrew J. Franklin, Nairobi
You know of cases of double and even triple allocation of plots in land buying companies. My Late father had one share in Embakasi Ranching company. He paid survey fees and was allocated a plot in 1982. He passed on in 2008 and from 2009 the company has been unable to show me the location of the plot he was allocated. Assist me to know what happened to plot?
Miringu Mungai, Kikuyu