Counties face planning crisis

Thursday, October 28th, 2021 00:00 |
NLC chairman Gerishom Otachi Photo/Courtesy

The National Land Commission (NLC) has raised concern that majority of the counties are yet to come up with a spatial plan in accordance with the law.

NLC says only four counties have complied with the requirements of the County Government Act 2012 to develop the plan within ten years.

This means that up to 87 per cent of counties have not completed the plans.

NLC chairman Gerishom Otachi (pictured) said the County Governments Act 2012 requires the counties to have a spatial plan within 10 years of their inception.

With just one year to the 10th year, the Commission is now raising concern that lack of the plan would hamper economic growth, human settlement and infrastructure development.

Otachi, who was accompanied by commissioner Esther Murugi spoke yesterday in Kisumu during this year’s Town and County Planners Association conference.

“Counties and other stakeholders, including professionals should speed up the process of coming up with spatial plans. We are concerned about rapid urbanisation and sprouting of unplanned urban centres across the country,” said Otachi.

Only Lamu, Makueni, Baringo and Kericho had completed their spatial plans as at June 2021.

In the category of cities, Nairobi and Mombasa have completed theirs while Kisumu is yet to start the process. Nakuru, which was recently elevated to city status, has started the process.

The commission reports that eight other counties have done 75 per cent compliance ahead of next year’s deadline. They include Siaya, Kajiado, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Kwale, Murang’a, Uasin Gishu and Nyandarua.

Bomet, Trans Nzoia, Nakuru, West Pokot, Bungoma, Kiambu, and Samburu at 50 per cent compliance.

Kilifi, Marsabit, Tana River, Laikipia, Nandi and Kitui are at 25 per cent, meaning they may not be able to complete the process by the deadline.

The commission expressed concern that 20 counties were yet to initiate the process. They are Kisumu, Homa Bay, Nyamira, Migori, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Garissa, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana, Narok, Taita Taveta, Machakos, Mandera, Meru, Kisii, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Wajir and Isiolo.

Otachi said towns such as Mlolongo, Syokimau, Ongata Rongai and Kitengela maybe expanding rapidly without proper planning.

He said the commission is ready to help the counties in developing spatial plans.

“Some counties have challenges of budgetary allocations and capacity. We are ready to support them in terms of capacity building,” he said.

Murugi said most of the devolved units that have not initiated the process have been ignoring inquiries by the commission on the status of the spatial plans.

“Some of the counties just ignore our letters,” said the former Nyeri Town MP.

The three-day meeting was also addressed by the association chairman Mairura Omwenga and physical planning Principal Secretary Enosh Onyango. Lands Cabinet Secretary Faridah Karoney addressed the delegates virtually. 

Onyango said the national government will work with counties, NLC and the planners to ensure all programmes are integrated.

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