George Kebaso @Morarak
The country now has her homegrown land use policy, the first of its kind in independent Kenya. Under the new law, the government hopes to comprehensively address sustainable land use.
And with the launch of the National Land Use Policy as premised in the Sessional Paper No.1 of 2017, all colonial land laws have become obsolete and pave way for; among other things, a better definition of ownership and management of land resources.
The move also placed all land-related legislations under one roof. The policy aimed at guiding the country towards a sustainable and equitable use of land, provides a range of solutions to rapid urbanisation, population density, land fragmentation, diminishing agricultural land and encroachment on fragile ecosystems, among other issues.
Under the current policy, according to Deputy President William Ruto, the country has witnessed loss of huge chunks of forests to illegal logging, haphazard encroachment through human settlements and loss of other forest resources.
Ruto who unveiled the document at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) underscored the socio-economic importance of land.
“Thus the policy we are launching today has its legitimacy in the supreme law of Kenya. We are today launching a national land use policy whose objectives are to provide legal, administrative, institutional and technological framework for optimal utilisation of land as envisaged in article 60 of the constitution,” the DP said.
He said the policy is central to the Government’s Big 4 Agenda. To be implemented in the next five years at an estimated cost of Sh17 billion, the policy anchors the development and realisation of the National Spatial plan and County Specific Spatial Plans. The Spatial Plans aim at creating balanced and integrated development across the country.
Ruto called on the relevant implementing agencies to focus on implementing the policy. He warned that no amount of incompetency and mediocre planning would be entertained.
“The new policy will boost the government’s envisaged plan to plant 1.8 billion trees in the next five years. I am asking the line ministries of Lands, Environment, Gender and Youth to put together those plans, resources and where the trees are going to be planted,” he said.
Ruto added, in the next one year alone, 360 million seedlings would be planted. “This will help to address environmental degradation as well,” he added.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Kenya Country Director, Gabriel Rugalema expressed hope the institution will play a key role in the implementation of the policy.