NAIROBI, Kenya, October 6 – The appointment of Farida Karoney to the role of land in February 2018 raised eyebrows from critics, including some Kenyans and parliamentarians questioning her ability to lead a ministry considered to be the most controversial and the most scandalous in Kenyan history.
Having been in the media industry for almost 27 years and then moving to government, many doubted anyone in the newsroom could inspire leadership in the ministry which over the years has been rocked by corruption and controlled by influential or obscure people. better still cartels which reigned with impunity.
A follower of rules that rarely break the law, Karoney was determined to prove her skeptics wrong when she took over from her predecessor Jacob Kaimenyi.
In fact, she told the National Assembly’s appointments commission during its audit that it would rationalize the services of the ministry whose image was considered irreparably damaged. She underlined her determination to fight against cartels.
“Yes, the cartels are there and we cannot give up because they exist. The reason the cartels continue to roam the halls of the Ardhi House is that the systems are not being digitized. Let us take care of the digitization and the securing of files, in this way the cartels will be eliminated, ”she told the committee chaired by President Justin Muturi.
After his appointment, Karoney’s job was straightforward and clear: to clean up the decay of the ministry with his appointing authority, with President Uhuru Kenyatta guaranteeing his support.
The seasoned journalist who began her career in 1994 as a reporter and then rose through the ranks and became one of the top media executives now believes she has delivered on her promises.
Karoney noted that her perceived struggle with cartels in the once corrupt ministry was largely successful thanks to the credible systems she was able to oversee.
One such system is the National Land Information Management System (NLIMS), also known as Ardhisasa, an online platform that allows Kenyans to interact with land information held and the processes undertaken. by the government.
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the system on April 27, 2021 marking the end of manual land transactions in Nairobi.
“We have been very successful in putting in place strong systems to lock down cartels, brokers and people who should not be trading in our industry,” she said in an exclusive interview with Capital News at the National Geospatial Data Center Tuesday.
She credits the system with revolutionizing land management and transactions and, by extension, promoting transparency.
“We have succeeded in eliminating the middlemen. With the system, as a landowner, you need a broker, cartel, or middleman to help you transact on your parcel of land. You just need your ID card and you need to make sure your papers are correct, ”she said.
The Nairobi registry, which was the pilot county and went live three months after the platform was unveiled, is expected to be fully digitized by December 2021 with records in 35 counties expected to be automated by 2022. .
Karoney is convinced that Kenya’s fight against corruption in the ministry has indeed taken a milestone with the operationalization of Ardhisasa.
“Ordinary Kenyans are very happy with the system because for many years they have suffered the most from our inefficiencies. Thanks to the system, we were able to eliminate the crowds that were observed at the headquarters of the ministry, ”she said.
The ministry currently has two registries, the Nairobi registry which is currently operational and the central registry which will be operational later this year.
The digital land resource management platform is designed to strengthen the security of land registers, speed up land transactions and fight fraud.
While a section of Kenyans remain skeptical of the platform, Karoney assured Kenyans that it is secure despite numerous attempts by hackers to infiltrate it.
“We have been on the air for five months and there have been many, many attempts to compromise the system, but individuals have not succeeded. This tells you that the system is indeed robust, ”she said.
She stressed that the system cannot be easily compromised, even by dishonest Land Department employees, as it does not allow shortcuts and such attempts would be easily flagged by the system.
The Nairobi Land Registry has so far processed 90,000 title deeds but only 40,000 are tradable.