Land as a factor of production is the most important natural resource that Kenya is endowed with. It is critical to economic, social, political and cultural development. It is also considered as the principal source of livelihood and material wealth by playing host to natural resources. Secure access to land, sustainable land use planning and equitable distribution of land remains immensely important for food and nutrition security, employment, growth of industries, attraction of foreign investors, foreign exchange earnings, and generally the socio-economic development of the country.
National Land Commission derives its mandate from the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the National Land Policy (2009) and acts of Parliament, namely the National Land Commission (NLC) Act, the Land Act and the Land Registration Act, all of 2012. The broad mandate of the National Land Commission can be categorized as provided for in the Constitution:
1. Manage Public land on behalf of the national and county governments, 67(2) a;
2. Recommend a National Land Policy to the national government, 67(2) b;
3. Advise the national government on a comprehensive program for the registration of title in land throughout Kenya, 67(2) c;
4. Conduct research related to land and the use of natural resources, and make recommendations to appropriate authorities, 67(2) d;
5. Initiate investigations, on its own initiative or on a complaint, into present or historical land injustices, and recommend appropriate redress, 67(2) e;
6. Encourage the application of traditional dispute resolution mechanisms in land conflicts, 67(2) f;
7. Assess tax on land and premiums on immovable property in any area designated by law, 67(2) f;
8. Monitor and have oversight responsibilities over Land Use Planning throughout the country, 67(2) h; and 9.
9. Perform any other functions prescribed by national legislation. 6(3)
Powers and functions
In line with the NLC’s Act, 2012, the Commission is obligated to exercise all the powers necessary for the execution of its functions under the Constitution, the NLC Act 2012 and any other written law. This translates into excercising its powers in a variety of ways like:
1. Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Commission shall have powers to;
- Gather, by such means as it considers appropriate, any relevant information including requisition of reports, records, documents or any information from any source, including any State organ, and to compel the production of such information where it considers necessary;
- Hold inquiries for the purposes of performing its functions under the NLC Act;
- Take any measures it considers necessary to ensure compliance with the principles of land policy set out in Article 60 (1) of the Constitution as depicted in box 1 below. These principles continue to guide the work of the Commission.