The question on land ownership has always been difficult to understand for many people. But we will endeavor to break it down into simple pointers that anyone can remember and refer to if need be.
Who can own land in Kenya?
The Constitution at Article 40 guarantees ownership of land in Kenya by any person. Simply put, anyone can own land in Kenya however, there are some caveats to that law. The law states that non-citizens can lease land in Kenya for a period of 99 years.
Can the government take your land?
Short answer no, long answer sometimes. Let’s explain. There are various types of land in Kenya: public land, private land and community land. Public land is land allocated for infrastructure like roads, public amenities and land held under the care of government bodies and parastatals. Community land is land held collectively by a community, say for example ancestral lands or land registered and protected under the laws of Kenya for a specific ethnic community. Private land refers to land held by an individual or business that may be transferred through sale, on-transactional transfers such as gifting and inheritance.
So how can the government take your land? Sometimes land borders may have been revised over the years and you may find that land that you believed is private may actually be public land, in this case the government may take steps necessary to reclaim land. The government may also see fit to extend the borders of public land to make way for public infrastructure like roads and schools so they may work closely with the owner of the land to purchase the property for this purpose. It is important therefore for you to check on your land status before purchasing to ensure it is classified under private land.