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Counties Can Manage Land Better

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Kenya Land as 47 Counties Kenya Land as 47 Counties

As historical injustices and corrections of allocation of land are done; millions of acres of land held today under private leasehold will revert to the county government. The land will be held per Kenya Constitution article 62 (2) "Public land shall vest in and be held by a county government in trust for the people resident in the county, and shall be administered on their behalf by the National Land Commission." Each County Government is empowered by Kenya Constitution 185 and 209 (3) to pass bills that anchor the management of land as land becomes a factor of production. Kenya land policy going forward should be based on land production to sustain a population of 100 million Kenyans living in Kenya by around 2065.

The Kenya Constitution empowers each of the 47 Counties to manage land. Using Kenya constitution article 209 (3) A county may impose (a) property rates a county can facilitate the management and production of land through a property rate. For example Makueni County made up of 2 million acres could pass a bill that imposes a property rate of Kshs 10,000 for every acre of land in county. The county based on such a bill could target to raise Kshs 10 billion in 10 years to be used for function 5, "County transport, including—(a) county roads; (b) street lighting."

For all plots in a county to be serviced with a good paved road, all plots established would have to pay a property rate. This law also helps in ensuring productivity of land for a person holding say 50,000 acres idle would have to pay Kshs 500 million every year. The only way one can achieve this income to pay is by making each and every acre held productive.     

County governments second management of land as per Kenya constitution 2010 is the unlocking of land held under 62 (2) for development purposes. Kenya Constitution 185 (4) "A county assembly may receive and approve plans and policies for— (a) the management and exploitation of the county’s resources; and (b) the development and management of its infrastructure and institutions," sets the law to allocate public land inside a county.

This law enables government, entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators and investors who desire to explore setting up economic producing institution in county land to submit their plan. The county residents who are supposed to be the primary beneficiaries have empowered their representatives in the County Assembly to accept or reject any proposal through a vote by the County Government. The proposal so land can be open up is thereafter subjected to approval by a majority of the National Land Commission (NLC) commissioners who are given constitution power to also see that land allocation and usage benefits the people and country and complies to the land national policy at the given time. 

For developers and investors to be able to plan and offer viable plans that can be implemented on land resources, a county will need to pass bills that set the terms of land usage especially as relates to County roads development. A developer of any institution—industrial, education, technology, commercial food farming or other—would want to know what the plan is for county roads paving. If for example Kshs 10 billion can be achieved through property rates in next 10 years, what percentage amount will go toward actual road paving, maintaining and other costs associated with roads?   

The Kenya 47 County Government’s biggest responsibility is the management of their land resource. How each of the 47 county plans for its land management will determine the County Gross Domestic Product (GDP), County Per Capita Income growth every year and the unemployment rate in County. 


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