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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 22:22 GMT
Kenya halts land allocation
President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya
Moi is waiting for the land law commission's report
Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi has frozen the allocation of publicly-owned land to private individuals or businesses, in an effort to end illegal land grabbing.

A decision to resume the programme will be taken after a land commission set up three years ago submits its final report, probably in October.

The president acknowledged that current practices had resulted in grave irregularities and raised serious concerns.

President Moi said the situation had led to the serious depletion of forests, wildlife corridors and amenity land.

Kenya forest
Kenya's forests have been shrinking
Correspondents say members of the government have been regularly accused of giving government land to party supporters and sympathisers.

Town and city councillors throughout the country are also regularly accused of grabbing public land to sell for profit.

The 78-year-old president, who has been in power for 23 years, said in some instances land had been allocated illegally.

The commission of inquiry into the land law system which he appointed in November 1999 was, among other things, given the task of undertaking a broad view of land issues in the country and recommending the main principles of land policy framework.

Scepticism

This framework would foster an economically efficient, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable land tenure and land use system, President Moi said.

However, the country's environmentalists say that he has stopped short of revoking the allocation of forests.

The Kenya Forests Working Group - a consortium of international and national NGOs, conservationists, businesspeople and government departments - is campaigning against a decision made two years ago to remove government protection for about 167,000 acres of forest.

Correspondents say that land grabbing is more rife before elections because cash-strapped candidates rely on land as their main resource.

See also:

07 Dec 01 | Africa
Fresh land clashes in Kenya
14 Feb 02 | Business
Kenya's flower farms flourish
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