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The Digitalising County: An early review of Kajiado’s LIMS

By January 30, 2024No Comments

by Wala Mohammed


A well-managed digital transformation and digital government system can yield sustainability dividends for developing nations by utilising digital technology and fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships.[1] It is on this basis and the general desire to improve public service delivery, that Kenya has prioritised the digitisation of government services. These efforts have led to marginal improvement in Kenya’s E-government index from 116 in 2020 to 113 in 2022 similarly the country’s E-participation improved from 94 in 2020 to 64 in 2022.[2] Further, and as has been emphasised by the government, the current efforts to lodge more services on the Kenyan Government to citizen portal i.e., e-Citizen (, is aimed at ensuring that public service delivery serves the public interest at its most optimal capability. One of the areas that the state is working towards full digitisation is land administration.[3]

During my graduate attachment scheme residency at the Refugee Led Research Hub (RLRH) at the British Institute in Eastern Africa in Kenya, I have been exposed to different research experiences, one of which has been the opportunity to accompany one of the Research Fellows in one of their field visits to Kajiado County, which is one of the Nairobi Metropolitan Region counties. It was during these field visits that I got to learn about the Kajiado County Government Land Information Management System (LIMS). What follows are my brief notes on the Kajiado County Government LIMS. I must note much of what is said here is based on my observation and conversations with some of the officials who administer the system.

National and County Land Information Management Systems

Land records in Kenya have been over the years managed through paper-based which are vulnerable to loss, wear and tear, compromise, and poor usability.[4] The paper-based approach has also affected land administration processes which over time became inefficient, time-consuming, unreliable, costly, and ineffective.[5] In 2007, the Kenyan government resolved to automate all land records and transactions by developing and deploying a land information management system based on big data technology that can store vast and diverse land ownership and transaction information. This policy decision was also captured in the country’s National Land Policy launched in 2009, which prescribed that land records and transactions should be automated.[6] The push to digitise was informed by the government’s desire to solve land administration-related problems such as land grabbing, followed by double allocation, poor filing system, absentee landowners, illegal land conversion, untitled lands, squatting, sale of government land, ethnic conflict, and compulsory land acquisition.[7]   

In line with the national land digitisation efforts County governments [second level of governance in Kenya] are also undertaking different projects to complement the national government efforts. For example, Kajiado County has implemented a land information management system to automate the County government’s administration of allotment letters. The system has a user-friendly screen and allows several land administration services to be conducted at the County Land Registry (CLR) offices, including property registration, transfer, issuance of new generation allotment letters, and tracking of changes on the system. Users i.e., CLR officials, can also search and generate reports. It is important to reiterate that the land information management system in Kajiado County is separate from the national land information management system popularly known as Ardhisasa. Unlike Ardhisasa which can be accessed by citizens[8], currently, the system can only be accessed by the officials within the CLR offices. In this way, it may be seen as primarily an office-based business operation system geared towards making the official’s work easier and as part of the early digitalisation foundation in the county.

System development

Information Technology (IT) outsourcing is currently a significant management issue in the public sector. Debates on outsourcing issues and problems arose in public sector organisations at the end of the 1990s.[9] Following a trend in the private sector, many governmental entities chose to outsource their IT needs. However, effective management of IT outsourcing in the public sector has become a major challenge.[10] In terms of gaining access to advanced technology and expertise through IT outsourcing, the private sector sees it as a strategic move, but for public sector organisations it is often the only option available, as employment regulations in the public sector would not allow hiring IT professionals at competitive salaries.[11]

The LIMS in Kajiado County was developed through a public-private partnership process that involved the relevant county government department and the private company that developed the system. The company was awarded the tender following a competitive procurement process. Following its launch, the private company’s role has transformed into one of technical support and maintenance. The relationship between the CLR and the developer has not been smooth as evidenced by the fact that in some cases the developer may take as long as 6 months to fix some of the technical issues with the system. For example, according to an official we interviewed during our visit to Kajiado, the system developer took 2 months to resolve an issue brought about by a computer virus attack. During this period, the officials within the CLR were not able to undertake any system-related work. It was not clear how they went about delivering other services but what is evident is that being reliant on a system whose expertise as it relates to maintenance is not in-house is a poor policy choice. 

For successful IT outsourcing, the Kajiado county government should emphasise the role of IT to its staff, especially in traditional sectors. The County government should establish a Chief Information Officer (CIO) position which should be filled by an information communication and technology (ICT) expert who understands the role of ICT in public service delivery. The CIO position should be a technical position employed on a permanent and pensionable basis to avoid frequent transitions with the change of county government’s administration every five years. As the matter stands, the county’s directorate of ICT should be involved in any future LIMS operations to ensure the necessary ICT knowledge is transferred to staff within the directorate. Furthermore, the directorate should request the system developer to prepare simple manuals on the system to facilitate their training of the CLR officials and the directorate’s staff. While this may be easier said than done, I believe that such an approach will be more beneficial to the county as opposed to the current situation. Furthermore, given the CLR office already has an established relationship with the developer, my recommendation is not something that cannot be discussed and built on this good relationship.

Digitisation and Land Revenue Collection at Kajiado County

One of the key sources of revenue for county governments in Kenya is land rates. For example, in Kajiado land rates accounted for Sh1.2 billion of the revenue collected during 2018.[12] Land rates in Kenya are levied by the County government on rateable owners as a tax on their property based on the property’s value and area. The effective administration of this tax is premised on an up-to-date valuation roll which is a public and legal document containing the property information of rateable properties within a county. The valuation roll consists of the following information: (a) the description, situation, and area of the land valued; (b) the name and address of the rateable owner;  (c) the use of property; (d) the site value; (e) the assessment for the improvement rate; and (f) any other necessary (if any) information regarding that property.[13] To improve their land revenue collection efforts the County government of Kajiado is in the process of collecting information about land owners and their contact details to develop what they are calling a cadastral system. According to some of the officials we interviewed during one of our visits to the county, the process of preparing this cadastral system involves extracting property information data from Registry Index Maps and linking this information with what is available in the CLR office. The information gathered in this extraction process will be used to assess land rates and follow up with the actual owners. It will also help with billing in that the land-revenue department will know to whom and where to send the land rate bills.   

Data Protection

The phrase ‘data is the new oil’ is premised on the importance of data in today’s digital world (Clive Humby, 2006). It is this increased value and interest in data that has led to the rapid development of a data economy, in Kenya, underpinned by different data protection infrastructures. For example, in Kenya, the Government has developed several legislative and policy frameworks to safeguard Kenya’s data and safeguard the critical data ecosystem infrastructure. These laws include Kenya’s Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act (CMCA) of 2018, the Data Protection Act of 2019, and the 2022 – 2027 National Cyber Security Strategy. In general, these and other relevant ICT-related laws and policies are meant to develop the data protection regulatory framework. Data protection is undoubtedly important for the Kajiado LIMS. This is because the system interacts with sensitive land ownership data. Within the CLR office, to safeguard the data officials have been allocated different rights and the Registrar can monitor every user’s activity in the system. Another way the data is protected is through limited access to the database which the system developer still administers. However, this latter situation introduces the risks of data manipulation by the third party i.e., the developer. It is important to add that to the best of my knowledge this has not happened in Kajiado.

Also noteworthy is that the archival files which are still in paper form can be used to mitigate against the data manipulation risk. The credibility of these files is ensured by the access to the archives being strictly controlled and monitored, by the CLR officials, through a CCTV system. However, it is important to note that despite the restricted access, the archival room is facing some challenges due to the limited physical space and filing shelves. The limited space has led to congestion within the archive making it difficult for the staff to move around, and work from the archives when they need to work from there. Additionally, due to the lack of filing shelves, some records are poorly stored in boxes that are not suited for paper storage. This increases the risk of these documents being destroyed and, in the process, interfering with the evidentiary file.

The second challenge relates to the data backup. Based on the conversation with one of the officials, the data is stored on hard disks within the same CLR office. This in my view is not good practice and the system data needs also to be backed up on the cloud under the administration of the CLR office. Cloud computing for public services is envisaged across the world as one of the potential benefits of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). It includes the need to scale and reach IT infrastructure. However, ICT infrastructure has been a limiting factor for governments and the Kajiado county Government is no exception. The limited storage space has also limited further improvement to the system. In my view, for the system to keep up with the rapidly urbanising trading centres and also provide the requisite services then there is a need for the County government to consider additional cloud storage space. In addition to providing additional data security, it will also complement the great effort the CLR office is undertaking to digitise the daily processes and procedures related to the county’s land administration role. 

With the ever-increasing amount of data available in LMIS, there is a range of opportunities for the system to support the County’s Governance in decisions making, and enforcing tax collection. Since, the LMIS meets the parameters required to develop LMIS, which are land tenure, land use, land value, and land development, the County can contribute towards reporting against SDG11. Yet, it is recommended that the CLR officials take proactive measures to protect the system data by conducting a network-based security assessment, as well as backup system data on the cloud.

[1] Digwatch Geneva Internet Platform. (2023). Is e-governance the answer to Kenya’s pressing socio-economic problems? Dig Watch Geneva Internet Platform.

[2] Hope, K. R. (2012). Managing the Public Sector in Kenya: Reform and Transformation for Improved Performance. Journal of Public Administration and Governance. vol 2 (4).


[4] Kwanya, T. (2014). Big Data in Land Records Management in Kenya: A Fit and Viability Analysis. In: Uden, L., Fuenzaliza Oshee, D., Ting, IH., Liberona, D. (eds) Knowledge Management in Organizations. KMO 2014. Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, vol 185. Springer, Cham.

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Nyangweso, D. O., & Gede, M. (2022). Performance Evaluation of Land Administration System (LAS) of Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Kenya. Land, 11(2), 203. MDPI AG. Retrieved

[8] Citizen is used here to mean Kenyan citizens accessing the system to seek different land administration service.

[9] Moon, J. & Choe, Y. C, & Swar, B. (2016). IT outsourcing success in the public sector: Lessons from e-government practices in Korea. Journal of Information Development. Vol 32 (2).

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12] Marindary, k. (2023). Lenku targets Sh1.5bn from new land rates revenue drive. The Star.

[13] Elayachi, M, & Semlali, E. (2001). Digital Cadastral Map: A Multipurpose Tool For Sustainable Development. International Conference on Spatial Information for Sustainable Development, Nairobi, Kenya.


Author BIEA

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