The National Land Commission (NLC) and the National Environmental Complaints Committee (NECC) have signed a partnership framework so as to collaborate in the protection of the environment through their respective mandates.
As an immediate outcome of the signing of the framework for engagement, the two institutions agreed to work together to reclaim grabbed public land.
Speaking during the signing of the framework at NLC offices, NECC chairman Dr. Justry Nyaberi explained that the institution receives several environmental complaints related to land hence the need to jointly work with the Commission.
“We can’t conclusively resolve these issues without you being in the picture. You have powers to conduct research related to land and use of natural resources and make recommendations to appropriate authorities,” said Mr Nyaberi of NLC.
The NECC chairman stated that the country is on the brink of losing some of its key water catchment bodies, a situation that calls for urgent action from all stakeholders. These include Chyulu Hills in Taita Taveta County, Lake Olbolosat the only lake in central Kenya which forms the headwaters for the Ewaso Ng’iro river, Lake Naivasha and Nairobi River amongst others.
Present in the meeting were NLC Vice chairperson Gertrude Nguku, Commissioner Hon. Tiyah Galgalo, Ag. CEO Kabale Tache, Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution Director Brian Ikol, Corporate Communication and Advocacy head Walter Menya, Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution Deputy Director Bellinda Akello, Principal Investigative officer Ali Ibrahim and other secretariat staff.
NECC representatives consisted of Committee member Ms. Jane Masai, Head of Research Simon Gatuhi, and Legal officer Monica Weru among others.
On his part, NLC chairperson Mr. Gershom Otachi was categorical the institutions would jointly reclaim and resuscitate Lake Olobolosat, which is the source of Ewaso Ng’iro river. The river supports livelihoods of communities, livestock and wildlife in Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo and Garissa Counties.
Mr. Otachi explained that the Commission is committed to undertake its constitutional role of monitoring and overseeing land use throughout the country.
“Lake Olobolosat is a clear demonstration of synergy between government agencies. We welcome the move to bring NLC on board,” Otachi said.
NLC currently has over 6,000 land cases being heard out of court and 3000 others in court. About 60 per cent of these cases are on natural resources.
The meeting also established the need to address Chyulu water catchment which has in the recent past experienced increased human encroachment, farming and commercial activities.
The water catchment feeds major springs including the Mzima Springs which sustains Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Kwale and Kilifi counties.
Similarly, for prosperity and sustainability of the economy, the two government institutions will work together to reclaim grabbed riparian land around lake Naivasha.
The partnership will be instrumental in enhancing both the capacity and technical know-how of both institutions.