Muhammed A Swazuri Chair of the National Land Commission
The New Constitution is surprisingly silent on the formation and composition of the members of the National Land Commission. However a reading of the National Land Commission Act of 2012, confirms that it will be made up of a Chair and 8 other Commissioners after vetting by Parliament's Departmental Committee on Land and Natural Resources, to serve for a term of 6 years without the option of reappointment.
Although the National Land Commission Act came into effect in May of 2012, their gazettement did not happen without controversy, owing largely to petitions filed in the High Court and unexplained actions by the President. It took the intervention of the Court for that to happen. Their gazettement, "......... was delayed by reason of conservatory orders given by the High Court of Kenya in High Court petition No. 266 of 2012. That petition was subsequently withdrawn, and two other petitions by different parties, No.373 of 2012 and No.426 of 2012 were heard and dismissed by the High Court. This was on 12th October 2012. It is a matter of public record that on 15th October 2012, the Attorney General in writing informed the office of the President of the judicial developments and advised the gazzettement of the Commission Members."
In view of the continued refusal, neglect and/or failure by the President to make the appointment, two citizens filed petition No. 6 of 2013 the High Court. In giving its judgment on the petition the High Court made the following observations:
“The process of appointment of the chairperson and commissioners of the Commission set out in the First Schedule is imperative and no cause has been shown why it cannot be implemented to give effect to the provisions of Article 67 and 250(2). I also find and hold that failure to complete the appointment of the chairperson and members of the Commission undermines the value of good governance in that the institution intended to govern land law and prepare land policy remains in limbo for an indeterminate period."
The Court concluded by giving these orders that:
“ The President be and is hereby directed to comply with the provisions of paragraph 8 of the First Schedule to the National Land Commission Act and officially appoint the Chairperson and Members of the National Land Commission within seven (7) days from the date hereof”.
This order was given on 4th February 2013, and the 7 days thus expired on 11th February, 2013. (CIC Website, 2013).
Eventually, the Commissioners were gazetted on Wednesday 20th Feb, 2013.