In the words of one of Kenya’s most vocal activists, Boniface Mwangi: “Other countries have mafia, but in Kenya, the mafias have a country.” Well, you might think it is a bit theatrical, but some would go further to say it is a mild description of the state of corruption in the country.
However, technology is promising to curb some of those cartel corrupt activities within the land ministries. The Land Ministry is currently in the early stages of digitizing land records. A move aimed at not just improving efficiency, but also taming the wanton corruption and rampant cases of missing files.
The digitization of land records will go a long way in improving monitoring and controlling cartel activities; with the end goal being stopping cartels from land grabbing. The Land Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, says Kenya needs billions of shillings to digitize records across the 57 land registries.
“This exercise will cost us a lot of money, I cannot estimate as yet, but within less than a year we should have finished digitizing the registries countrywide. It will definitely make our services more efficient, effective, and retrieval of information will become easier.”
The Land Ministry is also said to introduce biometric access control cards to the information system to be used to store, retrieve, and edit the land registries records. The Ministry is also working on amending the Valuers Act to curb the menace of brokers masquerading as bona fide land valuers.
“This idea of people selling land in a foreign country needs to stop. It should be done by professionals, not quacks. We shall deal with them because the country only recognizes 318 registered land valuers.”
As at July 2016, the Land Ministry had already digitized records in only 13 land registries. There are Ardhi House (Nairobi), Bungoma, Eldoret, Kajiado, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kisumu, Kwale, Machakos, Meru, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Thika.