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Land Reforms in Kenya and around Africa

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STANDARD ON SUNDAY: September 8, 2013, Pgs 27,

Is Jubilee using title deeds as political bait to bag the Coast?

Updated Sunday, September 8th 2013 at 10:11 GMT +3

President Uhuru Kenyatta presents land papers to a Kwale resident on Monday.  [PHOTO: FILE/ STANDARD]

By JACOB NG’ETICH

KENYA: The week-long exercise to issue 66,000 title deeds at the Coast presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta has been clouded by high octane politics.

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In a previous discussion, I discussed the “invisible bumps” associated with property purchase. In the detail, l highlighted how some rogue urban land dealers embark on the sale of sub-plots from subdivision schemes for quick money without minding to seek approval from the relevant Local Authorities and the Commissioner of Lands as required by statute. But not all land owners, estate agents and developers fall in this category. Many go to great efforts to seek such approvals. However, such well meaning developers have usually met with considerable, at times insurmountable bureaucracy, institutional inefficiency and rent seeking. In situations like these, their applications for subdivision approval have gone unapproved for inordinately long, forcing some to commence sales of sub-plots to mitigate initial costs.

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I always wonder how many purchasers get to mind the “invisible bumps” as they place deposits for properties advertised through neat subdivision layouts to be found in newspaper pages and the offices of some property agents. I am sure most of us have seen them. In fact, some shrewd dealers even emboss “sold out” over some of the plot numbers to create the impression of scarcity and entice quick sales. This plays on our psychology, making one get the impression that the scheme is good and all plots would soon be taken up unless one expedited deposits.

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