Factors Contributing To Illegal Occupation And Developments On Alienated Public Land For Road Corridors In Kenya

Illegal land occupation and developments on road corridors in Kenya is quite common. The consequences include destruction of property and delays when the time comes to construct the roads. The fact that it is possible to occupy land, which had previously been acquired for road construction, could be caused by various factors ranging from a weak land administration system to poverty and corruption in the country.

The study utilizes the Nairobi Northern bypass to examine the factors, which contribute to the illegal occupation and development on the road corridors. The objectives were to determine the nature and the extent of the illegal occupation and development on the bypass, to determine the process followed during the planning, design and acquisition of the road corridor, to examine the factors which led to the illegal occupations and development, and to find out the reaction of the Government and other stakeholders to the illegal occupations. The study aims to contribute towards policy guidelines to ensure that there is proper management of the road corridors in the future.

The study was carried out by use of questionnaires and interview schedule with the relevant government officers in the various ministries involved with the land administration. A total of 113 household questionnaires were administered and these were selected using systematic sampling technique. The data collected was both qualitative and quantitative and hence various methods of analysis were adopted such as using frequency analysis and inferential statistics.

A weak land administration system, poor enforcement of regulations, a weak legal framework, poverty, population increase, greed and corruption emerged as some of the factors which have contributed to the illegal occupations and development of the road corridors. There was also abuse of public offices and the failure of the land professionals to uphold moral and ethical principles in the execution of their duties and failure to implement plans. There is therefore a need to look closely into the land administration systems of the country, which in reality is about the use, the ownership, and the value of the land. All the factors identified as contributing to the illegal land occupation point to a weakness in the land administration processes in the country.

The study recommends that since the 1973 plan that proposed the bypasses was never degazetted, the road should be constructed as it had been planned. To ensure that land acquired in the future for road construction is not encroached on; the weak instrument used during the land acquisition process should be amended to make it compulsory for the agency acquiring the land to register, survey it and use appropriate survey markers and to ensure that there is security of tenure. There is need to prepare physical development plans which depicts all planned utilities and adequate provision of cheap housing for the urban poor.

The study calls for exploring the possibilities of setting up a land information system which combines the different data sets from the different agencies and hence eliminating the exclusive nature in which the data is held. This will ensure that the land information will be complete and therefore giving the true picture of the ground in comparison with the current system where one has to visit at least five offices to ensure that there is agreement on the data.

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