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State seeks to take over land from foreigners

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Denzel Musumba

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Foreigners owning huge tracts of land, whose lease is about to expire, are likely to lose their prized assets as the government starts to enforce the law on land ownership.

The move will affect multinationals and individuals with tea, sisal and coffee estates in some of the most arable lands in the country on 99-year leases.

Lands Minister James Orengo said they were working on a law that would allow the government to review the expiring leases, especially those held for speculative purposes.

“There are some leases of 99 years, which are expiring, and some more are to expire. We will interrogate them afresh, and if we find that they have been held for speculation purposes, we will not renew them,” he said on phone from his Ugenya constituency.

Article 65 of the Constitution states that a person who is not a citizen or a company with at least one shareholder who is not a citizen may only hold land for a 99-year lease tenure at most.

The Sixth Schedule of the Transitional Clauses says: “On the effective date (promulgation of the new Constitution), any freehold interest in land in Kenya held by a person who is not a citizen shall revert to the Republic of Kenya to be held on behalf of the people of Kenya, and the State shall grant to the person a ninety-nine year lease at a peppercorn rent.”..More info Click here

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