NLC, Lands ministry differ on new law

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

The National Land Commission (NLC) and the Lands ministry are headed for a collision course after the former told members of the National Assembly to reject all amendments to the proposed Physical Planning Bill 2017 drafted by the government.

NLC chairperson Mohammad Swazuri claims the bill in its current state, is a recipe for confusion and conflict in land use, land development and land management. He warned that the bill creates duplication of roles between the ministry and the commission.

Appearing before the National Assembly committee on lands chaired by Kitui West MP Rachel Nyamai, Swazuri claimed certain provisions in the bill go against the Constitution and thus should not be considered.

“The National Assembly considers comprehensive overhaul of the bill taking into consideration the commission’s views as well as other stakeholders,” he said. Swazuri told the committee that the bill contravenes the principles, letter and spirit of the Constitution including devolution, public participation and good governance.

He said the bill also fails to meet the requirements of article 68(b) of the constitution which requires parliament to revise sectoral land uses laws in accordance with the Constitution.

The principles of involvement of the people in the process of policy making, transparency and provision to the public, he said were grossly violated by the secrecy and deliberate dis-information when coming up with the bill.

Further he told the committee by amending sections of the county government act this undermines devolution as it takes away plan approval powers of the county assemblies.

In addition, he said, the bill fails to recognise the different types of land use plans prepared under the county governments act and the urban areas and cities act as it creates conflicts and duplication.

Following the move Nyamai said that as a committee they will ensure they scrutinise the bill to aver the duplication or roles between NLC and the ministry.

“Members, you have seen the duplication of roles, confusion, push and pull between the ministry and NLC. It is clear our work is cut out and we need to come up with a law that will harmonise all the other laws,” she said.

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