Friday 13th March: 2 Months after Langata Road Primary School, Is the Government Committed to Deliver on its Promise to Issue Title Deeds to Public Schools?

On January 19, 2015, concerned citizens, teachers and pupils of Langata Road Primary School took action to bring down a wall that had been illegally erected on the school’s playground. This public action contributed to public discussion on the vulnerability of schools to land grabbers due to the fact that most schools lack title deeds.

Key policy makers including the President of the Republic of Kenya; the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development; and the Chairperson of the National Land Commission, made policy declarations to issue title deeds to public schools in Nairobi and Mombasa. The Governor of Mombasa County, Hassan Ali Joho, also declared that the Mombasa County Government would finance the cost of surveying all public school land, and issue title deeds to all public schools in the County.

Less than a month after the public action in Langata Road Primary School, the government and members of the public have taken action to reclaim pieces of public that have been grabbed.  These included:

i.               The Kibagare Wetland reclaimed by the CS in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development

ii.              Demolition of a wall erected around public land on State House Crescent Road

iii.            Nullification of title deed of 35 acres of the original 64-acre City Park/Market’s land, which had been grabbed by a former assistant minister.

iv.             A person who had acquired part of land belonging to Mombasa Primary School surrendered ownership of the land to the school.[1]

v.              Youth from Umoja II Estate brought down a wall blocking access to land earmarked for construction of a social hall in Umoja II Estate. A church had constructed the wall.

vi.             A gate blocking access to Buruburu Girls Secondary School was demolished.

vii.           Parents and students led demonstrations against land grabbing of several schools including: St. Catherine’s Primary, Parklands Arya Girls Secondary, Buruburu Girls and Bondeni Primary Schools.

 

Members of the public have requested the Kenya Dialogues Project to support them in reclaiming parcels of public land from land grabbers. These include Milimani Primary School, City Primary School, Kakamega Primary School, Naka Primary School, Nairobi Milimani Secondary School, City Park, Kasarani Stadium, Madaraka Primary School and Jamhuri 1 Estate

These declarations and actions demonstrate the magnitude of illegal acquisition of land, and the urgency in which land issues need to be addressed.

Two months down the line, the promise to issue title deeds to the 205 public schools in Nairobi is yet to be fulfilled.

Moreover, Hon. Charity Ngilu, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Dr. Evans Kidero, the governor for Nairobi have been named in a land grabbing scandal filed in court earlier this month. http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Charity-Ngilu-Evans-Kidero-Land-State-House-Nairobi/-/1056/2645988/-/yegrgn/-/index.html

Constitutional Provisions

60 (1) Land in Kenya shall be held, used and managed in a manner that is equitable, efficient, productive and sustainable and in accordance to the following principles

(a)Equitable access to land

(b) Security of Land rights

(d) Transparent and cost effective administration of land

67(2) Functions of the National Land Commission

(a) To manage public land on behalf of the national and county governments

(c)  Advise the national government on a comprehensive program for the registration of title in land throughout Kenya 

(e) Initiate investigations, on its own initiative or on a complaint, into present or historical land injustices and recommend appropriate authorities.

 

Key Questions

  1. Is the Government committed to deliver on its promise to grant public schools with title deeds?
  2. What actions can citizens take to compel Government to deliver on its promise to issue title deeds to schools?


[1] The Star (February 9, 2015)