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Why You Could Lose Your Land To Gov’t If MPs Pass New Bill

Why You Could Lose Your Land To Gov’t If MPs Pass New Bill

The current debate surrounding the Finance Bill, 2024 has highlighted several issues that have raised public concern, including the proposal to amend the Land Act of 2012.

The Land Amendment Bill number 2 of 2023 suggests adding a new clause that would require freehold landowners, who have perpetual ownership and unrestricted use of their land, to pay land rent.

The proposed amendment to the Land Act 2012 includes a new section after section 54, mandating that owners of freehold land within urban areas or cities pay an annual land levy comparable to the rent of similar leasehold properties in the same zone.

Experts warn that if this amendment is passed, it could result in many Kenyans losing their property to the government.

Dr. Mwenda Makathimo, Executive Director of the Land Development and Governance Institute (LDGI), interprets this as a tax on owning urban land, effectively charging citizens for their freehold properties.

“This implies that the government is taxing you for owning non-government land. This legislation could impact land inherited from parents or purchased as freehold,” he explained to Citizen TV.

Eva Makori, Acting Regional Coordinator for the International Land Coalition (ILC) Africa, added that imposing an annual levy on freehold land effectively transforms it into leasehold, risking dispossession for those unable to pay, including indigenous peoples with ancestral lands.


The Bill, introduced by Ruiru MP Simon King’ara, could also empower the Lands Cabinet Secretary to compulsorily acquire land whenever deemed necessary by the county or national government.

Dr. Makathimo believes this would be detrimental, shifting power from an independent commission and potentially resulting in losses for Kenyans in cases of compulsory acquisition.

“This increases the risk of arbitrary property rights denial and inadequate compensation for compulsory public acquisitions, making the amendment retrogressive,” he stated.

“It reverts Kenya to a pre-2010 Constitution framework where land was managed on behalf of the President.”

Marjorie Kivuva, Partner at Tarra Agility Africa, stressed that any amendment should not contradict existing property titles or interests, which should be protected if guaranteed by the Constitution and land laws.

Despite government claims, particularly from National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah, that no such Bill exists, Citizen TV has verified that the Bill has passed through the National Assembly and is now in the Senate.

Why You Could Lose Your Land To Gov’t If MPs Pass New Bill