Nairobi — President William Ruto has condemned the National Land Commission (NLC) over the skewed valuation of land for compensation in instances where government has identified parcels for compulsory land acquisition.
Speaking during a church service in Isiolo, Ruto said going forward the Lands ministry will conduct valuation for purposes of accountability, to ensure equality when carrying out the land compensation.
“I have already commanded the NLC people that they will no longer do the evaluations for land compensation. The Ministry of Lands will carry out the valuations so as to ensure every Kenyan get their equal share,” he said.
“I want NLC to listen to me very carefully because that commission has become like a market. Someone goes there land worth Sh100,000 is being valued at Sh1 million. For those unwilling to pay bribes, land worth Sh1 million is devalued to Sh100,000,” Ruto illustrated.
Additionally, Ruto emphasized the need to treat all Kenyans equally and ensure that everyone receives what they deserve.
“That nonsense must stop and going forward it is not possible for the National Lands Commission to decide where the compensation is going to happen, who is going to be compensated and how much is it going to be paid,” he said.
“We must separate for purposes of accountability NLC to do their work and the Ministry of Lands who have the power to do the valuation they do their work so that we stop this problem that Isiolo residents have found themselves to be compensated.”
NLC is on the spot for alleged discrimination in compensation of project-affected persons in a road project in Isiolo.
In a recent report, the Senate Lands Committee accused the NLC of bias in compensating those impacted and ordered the commission to halt the compensation process until the issue is rectified.
The Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project, a road project being carried out by the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) in the upper eastern and northern regions of Kenya, is the subject of allegations of unfair compensation by the NLC.
Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo has argued the rates imposed in her county are different from those in the other counties, and as a result, those impacted in Isiolo have been subjected to discrimination.
She further claimed that the commission failed to disclose the compensation tabulation and forced the impacted parties to sign consent papers.
Cabinet Secretary for Land Zachariah Njeru was summoned before the Senate Committee on April 26 to answer questions raised by Dullo on disparities in compensation rates.
The Senator wanted the CS to further provide the criteria used in determining the compensation figures and what measures are in place to ensure equitable compensation in such cases.
“We are representing people and not animals. Why are Nuno-Modogashe residents paid less than their counterparts in Garissa County?” asked Dullo.
“Things were not done in the right manner as people were forced to sign the consent because they are ignorant. Leaders were not involved in the entire process.”
On the question of why there was a disparity in the compensation, the CS said that question would be fully answered by the National Land Commission.
Senate Speaker Amason Kingi subsequently summoned the NLC Chairperson Gershom Otachi to appear before the relevant house committee to provide all the required answers.