MPs disown key Vision 2030 land plan

 

Members of Parliament from arid and semi-arid regions have disowned a national government document that is expected to inform the restructuring of land policies in the country.

Led by Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow, the legislators said that they are not aware of the National Spatial Plan expected to be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta next month.

They argued that the document does not address concerns of pastoralists in their regions which have been hard hit by perennial conflicts ranging from grazing land to ownership of community land.

The MPs further argued that neither them nor their constituents were consulted during the preparation of the plan hence it does not represent the interests of the public.

They are now demanding the ministry of lands to host them for a retreat where they shall negotiate their input to the proposals contained.

“You cannot purport to have a document addressing sensitive matters such as land yet the community was not involved. We are not part of it and thus cannot be implemented as it is,” Senator Kerrow said.

He questioned how the State mapped out low income and high income areas adding that some regions had been reclassified wrongly.

For instance, Senator Kerrow observed that Turkana County was still classified as low income with no economic activity yet oil had been discovered in the county.

Naivasha MP John Kihagi, a member of the Departmental Committee on Lands, emphasized the need for consultations observing that failure to do so would amount to sustained conflict among the locals.

“This document is only a hypothetical fallacy. What we are creating now is sustained war between the government and owners of community land in the rural areas,” he said.

He added: “The National Assembly must not be used as a rubber stamp to pass documents that they rarely understand. My team members are not aware of this Spatial Plan.”

But the government through Lands PS Mariamu Elmaawy denied the allegations saying that all the concerned parties had been invited to give their input.

“In early June, we had invited all elected leaders across the country but only a few decided to show up. It is true maybe some of them are not aware but we shall organise a forum to address alarming issues,” the PS stated.

The National Spatial Plan is a Key vision 2030 flagship project that is meant to lay the foundation for social economic transformation for the country.

Its implementation is expected to enhance coordination among the various sectors that propel infrastructural growth.

“It will inform policy makers on how to modernize agriculture, create regional balance, optimise the use of land, map out resources and enhance functionality of urban settlement,” said the PS.

“Our huge projects especially those tagged on the Vision 2030 platform must agree with this plan. As a country we must be organized and have the ability to integrate all development projects,” she added.

She appealed to parliament to pass the Physical Planning Act that is before the House which she noted was a prerequisite for implementing the Spatial Plan.

“My request to the Members of Parliament is for them to pass the Act before them as it is crucial for the implementation of this mega plan,” she appealed.

 

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