Geo-referencing of land parcels will eradicate fake titles – President Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said that the on-going geo-referencing of land parcels will bring to an end the issuance of fake title deeds.

In his Mashujaa Day address at Wang’uru Stadium in Kirinyaga, President Kenyatta said the exercise, which is a facet of an entire digitisation programme, has so far unearthed deeply-rooted wanton illegalities including the improper allocation of government-owned parcels of land to private citizens.

“For 125 years, our land registry was manually managed and very messy. In fact, some of this mess was deliberate, engineered to facilitate land theft and corruption. But with the help of this youth-led team, we have begun the process of digitising the land registry.

“What has surprised us as we reference title deeds with geographical co-ordinates is the historical fraud that has existed in our land sector. We have found private land titles to roundabouts in major highways, private land titles on airport runways, and all of this is because titles were issued without reference to geographical co-ordinates or what experts call geo-referencing,” he said.

He stated that government was in the process of cleaning title deeds to ensure they have corresponding geographical co-ordinates in an effort to stamp out fake titles and restore the sanctity of the title deed.

The exercise includes cross-referencing coordinates recorded on existing title deeds against an in-built cadastre on Ardhisasa land management system to identify its exact location. This means that for every parcel of land on paper, there should be a physical piece of land on the ground that is in an area available for private ownership.

This will ensure that all parcels which are located on public land, road reserves, riparian land and other government-owned parcels are not available for transaction.

In the recent past, Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney has said that the system has been meticulously designed to root out corruption and ensure only “clean parcels” are available for transaction.

“The challenge we are having currently is that some of the parcels especially in Nairobi were illegally allocated, and this is as a result of decades of corruption in the land sector. The system that we have built however is incorruptible. This is the Mercedes of deployment technology, and as such it will make it impossible for anyone to conduct illegal land transactions,” she said in a past meeting.

On functionality, President Kenyatta said Ardhisasa would cut down the amount of time taken to conduct land transactions from a minimum of six months to 48 hours, with the time taken to obtain a land search being reduced from 3 months to 3-5 minutes. Consequently, the country is expected to achieve a higher ranking in the ease of doing business index.

Highlighting the progress in another one of his land reform agendas, National Titling Programme, President Kenyatta exuded confidence of further increasing the number of title deeds he will issue before leaving office due to the transition from manual to digital mode of land transactions.

“Now with digitisation, we have the platform to ensure that every inch of Kenya is mapped and all areas eligible for allocation and issuance of titles have an accurate, secure and fraud-free system of issuance.

“It is my belief that after digitisation, issues of land titling will be sorted out once and for all. And I say so because my administration has already issued 5.3 million title deeds under the manual registry in only 8 years. That is equivalent to the number of title deeds issued by the colonizers and the first three administrations combined in a total of 125 years. So I believe that if we have achieved 5.3 million titles in 8 years under an archaic system, how much more will we be able to achieve once the national system is completely digitised?” he remarked.

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