EDITORIAL: Explain suspension of land records digitisation

Ideas & Debate

EDITORIAL: Explain suspension of land records digitisation

Parliament needs to come clear on the real motive for the retrogressive move. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Taxpayers have over the years paid a pretty penny for the elusive digitisation of land records, in a long-running drive meant to secure ownership and streamline land transactions, including payment of rates.

Since the days of the Kibaki administration, successive ministers of Land have been promising Kenyans that going digital would solve some their property problems, including ownership disputes that have persisted for decades.

But just when the public was expecting to reap the benefits of the digitisation, MPs have thrown a spanner in the works by suspending the implementation of the regulations that would have unlocked huge benefits for the public.

This decision is retrogressive and risks taking Kenya back in the journey of modernising its economy.

True, land remains a hot potato across the country and, given past lapses by government agencies, there are genuine fears that the data could be breached or compromised in the future.

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However, the government was alive to these risks even when it embarked on the digitisation.

It has a responsibility to ensure that the data remains secure and that no one is illegally dispossessed.

As such, the move by MPs, raises eyebrows and sends a signal that the political class does not support land reforms.

Parliament needs to come clear on the real motive for the retrogressive move to assuage public fears that politicians are only pursuing selfish motives in this critical matter.

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