Squatters of 12 years may acquire land for free under proposed law

People who have settled on government land and private property as squatters for 12 consecutive years will acquire the properties for free if proposals before Parliament are approved.

The Budget and Appropriations Committee sits on Tuesday to consider a Bill sponsored by Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra asking the government to provide titles to squatters.

The government will be compelled to look for alternative land for affected private investors.

Mr Sumra is seeking to realise a provision of Article 43(b) of the Constitution which enshrines the right to accessible and adequate housing to every citizen.

The proposed law, which was tabled before the committee chaired by Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi last week, indicates that the programme will start with Nairobi.
Mr Sumra argued that slums or informal settlements accommodate more than 50 per cent of the 15 million urban populations in Kenya going by 2009 census statistics.

Parliament’s Budget Office, the team of experts that aises members on budgetary matters, says it would cost Sh25.6 billion to settle squatters in Nairobi if the State owns 75 per cent of the affected property.

It will cost Sh76.7 billion if the State owns 25 per cent and 75 per cent is in private hands and Sh102.2 billion if the affected property is fully private.