Surveyors have faulted the list of nine nominees approved by Parliament to serve as commissioners of the National Land Commission (NLC).
The Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) accused the State of exploiting a legal loophole to fill the NLC posts with non-professionals.
Under the NLC Act, anybody can serve as NLC commissioner as long as they hold a first degree in any field, and at least 10 years of experience in public administration, natural resources management or social sciences.
But ISK president Abraham Samoei said some of the roles of NLC, including surveying, valuation, physical planning, land administration and land registration, can only be carried out by professionals.
“It is the expectations of Kenyans that persons appointed to the commission have the competence and experience in matters to do with land to enable them discharge their mandate in policy formulation and oversight. Unfortunately, some of the members selected do not meet reasonable expectation,” said Mr Samoei.
The surveyors want Section Eight of the National Lands Commission Act 2012 amended to ensure only professionals serve on the commission.
“Ideally, the NLC Act should therefore specifically require that the relevant professions, including land surveyors, valuers and land administrators, constitute NLC,” said Mr Samoei.
The nine people nominated by President Uhuru Kenyatta include Gershom Otachi (chairman), former Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi, former Egerton University vice-chancellor James Tuitoek, and land valuer Reginald Okumu.
Others are former Kaloleni MP Kazungu Kambi, former Isiolo Woman Representative Tiya Galgalo, Hubbie Al-Haji, Alister Mutugi and Gertrude Nguku.
The High Court has since stopped the swearing in of the nine pending the hearing of a case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah on claims that due process was not followed in their nomination.
The surveyors claimed that appointment of non-professionals to the previous commission had created confusion in the sector, leading to inefficiencies in land administration and poor land governance.
The surveyors also complained that the term of land control boards in office has since lapsed but they have not been reconstituted.