Land maps, new occupancy titles will revolutionise land sector

01Dec 2017
The Guardian
Land maps, new occupancy titles will revolutionise land sector

LANDS and Human Settlements Development minister William Lukuvi has outlined new procedures for obtaining land occupancy titles, not just reducing processing of titles to a trifle of what it usually is.

There is also major change in giving a title deed wider security by inserting the location of the plot and documentation around it to computer documentation and backup on land occupancy in that area and in an extended manner, which ends duplicity and cheating. All of a sudden a title starts to look like bankable or negotiable object, not just a house standing already.

While this will not make a huge difference on the ground to start with, it will simplify things to a considerable extent at the social level, as amounts of time absorbed into fighting out intermittent wars concerning occupancy titles can’t be calculated. There are people who have spent nearly their whole adult lifespan fighting about a title deed what was duplicated by dishonest officials at various levels, and usually the stronger claimant won the feud. It was a paradise for the groaning legion of stakeholders in this or that sector, who create the chaos and pretend to work to solve it!

There is an aspect in these changes that are basically technological in character, like the use of global positioning on an extended scale so that documents and location of plots, occupancy rights entitlement, etc. are put in one place, rapidly and with certainty. So long as documents were basically drawn up on paper and filed in physical form, there was always an opportunity to tamper with correct documentation by inducement from this or that rich fellow, trampling on the rights of others. When the physical documents just give a basis for ICT document, it is different.

Yet, as everyone ought to have realised by now, it isn’t merely technological capacity that changes things but will to do what is right. Computers would remain in marginal use, for filing emails among officials or just scanning and storing in ICT form the faulty documents what would be brought by different claimants, which isn’t the case at present. The ministry is using the documentation it can find to sort out who is the right claimant, which is placing scores of houses of rich people in jeopardy, as once it is ascertained that the plot was grabbed, it is gone!

So these changes are really those of governance in the first place and only in auxiliary fashion relying on technology. There was a preliminary decision to end systematic wrangles where corruption in the ministry and in local governments fueled double plot claims, as money rationed availability of plots and formalization by oiling the processing of documents and proceeding to build. But some victimized claimants remained tenacious, sometimes invading presidential public rallies to register their complaints; they didn’t always attain justice, in tight procedure…

There is of course a long way to go for problems of plot allocations past and present, to be ended comprehensively, since there is nothing as intractable as a fight for a plot of land, or a house. Still it is evident that with the current governance changes and then with the vastly improved set up in which allocation will now be formalised, documents presented and verified, improper land administration will start fading into history, and that is as it should be. And with the gathering pace of universal secondary schooling and wider access to tertiary learning and vocational training, a new generation of job creators and innovators shall find land more helpful as an asset.

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