Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
A paltry 7.6 per cent—2,070 out of the 27,000—of public schools have title deeds for the land they sit on, the National Land Commission (NLC) revealed yesterday.
Appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Land, NLC vice chair Abigael Mbagaya said lack of the crucial documents has exposed most schools to land grabbers.
She said most schools hit by grabbing are located within ranches and settlement schemes. Mbagaya told MPs the vice —grabbing of school land—dates back to the run-up to 1992 General Election.
She, however, assured the legislators the commission was working round the clock to ensure all public schools are issued with titles deeds.
“Most schools do not have titles and grabbing of school land is rampant. However, we have revoked some of these titles and reclaimed some of the grabbed land,” said Mbagaya, adding that NLC is working with school heads and county governments to establish the exact size of land respective schools sit on to process the vital document.
“Some of the principals do not even know the acreage of land their schools are sitting on and that is why we are involving county governments.”
The committee chaired by Rachel Nyamai (Kitui South) demanded that NLC provides it with a list of schools that have titles and those without. Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi said it was unfortunate that land belonging to most schools has been grabbed under authorities’ watch.
Last year, NLC asked the National and County governments to intervene and secure public schools’ land after it established most lack title deeds.
Earlier yesterday, Lands ministry officials appeared before the committee and requested for allocation of Sh751.5 million in the supplementary budget to allow the ministry implement President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda, particularly low-cost housing.
Principal secretary Nicholas Muraguri said reduction of the docket’s budget in the 2017/18 financial year has hampered most projects.
In the supplementary estimates currently before Parliament, National Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich reduced the Lands ministry’s budget by Sh751.5 million. “We need money to ensure that land for the housing project is secured,” said the PS.