The idea of digitization of the Land in Kenya began in 2013 to carry out Sections 9 and 10 of the Land Registration Act 2012. Section 9 gives the Registrar of Lands the authority to maintain the register and any document required in a secure, accessible and reliable format which includes electronic files. Section 10 stresses on the importance of the accessibility of the register by members of the public including by electronic means.
The digitalization process has been undertaken as a Multi Agency project and has experienced several hardships such as torn and missing land records, lack of integration by the department, resistance and use of outdated procedures and practices. In spite of these hardships, there is still hope considering other countries such as the Mauritius in Africa who have been successful in digitizing their land records.
- WHAT IS DIGITIZATION OF LAND RECORDS
In an effort to curb document disappearance, a poor filing system and to make it easier to register land, a new effective online system will be implemented to make management of land information more accessible and digitally efficient.
Digitization is instrumental in Ease of Doing Business Agenda. It is expected that registration can be undertaken in 24 hours. This would eliminate delays and the costs associated with such delay.
- CURRENT PROCEDURE
Currently, title deeds at the Lands Registry are manually recorded in physical files hence the property registration process takes several days.
- DIGITISED RECORDS PROCEDURE
In the digital system, title deeds will be uploaded on an online system where payments to access the records can easily be made via M-pesa, Credit card or debit card. Such systems have already been implemented by NTSA/KRA. This will make it easier for buyers to perform an online land search with these simple steps:
- log into the e-Citizen platform and create an account
- Navigate to the Ministry of Land and physical planning and select the land search option
- Input the title number and complete the online land search form
- Confirm that all the details are correct before submitting the form
- Select your preferred payment option : either M-Pesa, credit card or a debit card
- Once the payment of KSH 500 is successful, you may proceed to print the results
The same information will be available on your portal anytime you log into your e-citizen account.
- ADVANTAGES OF THE DIGITISED SYSTEM
- Accurate Records- Due to Multi Agency approach the records for a property with regard to Survey, development and ownership are harmonised and accessible in a single portal.
- Process is efficient – Kenyans no longer have to queue up in long lines and move from office to office as the records will be available from the comfort of their home/office.
- Security – During the Covid 19 pandemic the safer option to access records is online. Records aresecure from alteration and/or forgery. It is also safer in case of any threats such as terrorism, fraud, fire and theft.
- Cost effective – Using the manual procedure of accessing and recording title deeds is a long process which results in a lot of Kenya shillings and hours lost hence the new quick online system will eliminate this problem.
- Land transactions will be faster and cheaper – Since the process is shortened, there will be no travel fee which will reduce the overall fee.
- Corruption and Land cartels will be greatly minimized – The online system makes it harder for records to be manipulated or lost since changes to the records require coding.
- Access to the records will be international – this will make accessing records or transferring land much easier, even for foreigners.
- No wear and tear – Unlike the manual records, online records cannot be easily lost or destroyed.
- User rights – Who is able to access and update information will be controlled to ensure no misinformation occurs.
Currently the process is underway to replace the old title deeds with a new ones. The landowner is required to physically submit the old title deed and a new one will be processed with a new title deed number as per the digitized records.
help facilitate a smooth registration process, On 31 December 2020 the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, through a Kenya Gazette Special Issue Vol.CXXII-No.242 http://kenyalaw.org/kenya_gazette/gazette/volume/MjI2OA–/Vol.CXXII-No.242/ which announced the conversion of land reference numbers to new parcel numbers for certain properties in Nairobi. The process of reissuing title deeds has commenced in Nairobi and will be undertaken in various phases throughout the country.
Land owners should be on the look out to submit the old titles and get a new one as the current ones will cease to be valid soon.They should also be on the lookout for further publications in the Kenya gazette and daily newspapers for conversion lists for various parts of the country to see if they include their property. After the publication of the notice, land owners have only 90 days to either make a complaint or apply to the registrar form. After 1 April 2021, all old registers in Nairobi will be closed and transactions will be carried out in the new register under the Land Registration Act, 2012.
Do you think Digitization is a welcome development? Will it streamline land ownership in Kenya. Post you comments, views and questions in the comment section below.