Better Understanding: Analysis of the National Land Information Management System (Ardhi Sasa)

Better Understanding: Analysis of the National Land Information Management System (Ardhi Sasa)




The National Land Information Management System, now dubbed “Ardhi Sasa”, was formally launched by the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning on 27th April 2021. Its proponents have touted it as being safe and secure, with advanced technology used to encrypt its data. Ardhi Sasa was rolled out on a pilot basis for Nairobi property transactions, with the intention being that the system would be extended to other parts of the country in due course.


Whereas Ardhi Sasa is almost two (2) years old, we have increasingly noted that users of the system have experienced challenges in navigating it in the course of their transactions. The purpose of this article therefore, is to help the various stakeholders in better understanding the Ardhi Sasa system and to provide an assessment of its effectiveness to date.


Legal Basis

Ardhi Sasa is founded on section 9 of the Land Registration Act, 2012 (the LRA), which requires the Chief Land Registrar (the Registrar) to maintain the Land Register in a secure, accessible and reliable format, which includes maintaining it electronically.


Additionally, under section 10 of the LRA, the Registrar is required to publicise information on the Land Register by use of electronic means, in accordance with the constitutional requirements of the right to access information as provided under Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 (the Constitution). Further, section 44 (3A) of the LRA allows the electronic execution of documents. The Land Regulations 2017 were also amended in 2020, to facilitate inter alia, electronic inventories of land and natural resources, issuance of licences, processing of orders, conversion of land tenure and change of user.


Services Available on Ardhi Sasa

The objective of Ardhi Sasa was to digitise land transactions and related services. Presently, the following services are available on the system: Under land registration: official searches, transfers, cautions, charges, leases, replacement of converted titles, rectification of land records. Under land administration: land rent invoices, development control and government leases. Under physical planning: compliance certificates and approvals of development plans. Under survey and mapping: new grants, amalgamations, subdivisions, re-surveys, re-establishment of beacons, requests for survey and mutations and sectional plans for sectional titles. Under land valuation: asset valuations e.g., for stamp duty purposes, government agencies’ purchases and estate administration. Under National Land Commission: land administration and land use.


Given the diversity of the available services on Ardhi Sasa, the system is useful to property owners, financiers as well as professionals such as registered physical planners, surveyors, lawyers and land valuers. Each user is required to open an Ardhi Sasa account in order to transact on the system.


Hits and Misses

Ardhi Sasa was a radical departure from the conventional documents’ system, which was predicated on manual records and which at times were unavailable and often inconclusive. This frustrated transactions, which could not proceed until the relevant records were traced or reconstructed as necessary by the relevant land registries.


Secondly, there was also the issue of inadequate safeguards concerning the access of sensitive personal data, as private property records were available to the general public upon request.


Thirdly, there was need to weed out middlemen and cartels, which had been profiteering from the unavailability or inadequacy of documentary records. These disinterested third parties would act as a bridge between the transacting parties and the records, as they would insist on “facilitating” tracing of records for the transactions to be finalised. Cartels would capitalise on the inadequate records to defraud bona fide owners by forging parallel titles and other land records.


It was against this backdrop that Ardhi Sasa was introduced to revolutionise land transactions, with all the attendant processes from inception to conclusion undertaken online. Thus far, the system has been hailed for the following reasons:

  • Infusion of professionalism into land dealings – Only concerned persons e.g. proprietors, financiers and registered professionals can undertake transactions on the system.
  • Fostering confidentiality and security of land records – the system has been designed to ensure that property owners are first notified and must consent to transactions involving their properties, right from official searches to other more complex Furthermore, the system affords various layers of security to account holders, as a user has to input a password to access the account. Moreover, there is a provision for a specimen signature which a user has to upload as part of account setup, which signature will be useful for authenticating future applications.
  • Reduction in corruption – Noting that the system users inter- act directly with land records, the necessity of intermediaries has greatly diminished, as users can freely transact online without unsolicited/unwarranted assistance from third parties.
  • Efficient record-keeping – Digitised records are easily accessible online, hence transactions are not dependent on availability of physical files.
  • Increased accessibility – Users can freely transact from any- where, without necessarily having to physically visit land offices to process their applications.


Given the diversity of the available services on Ardhi Sasa, the system is useful to property owners, financiers as well as professionals such as registered physical planners, surveyors, lawyers and land valuers.


Despite the good intentions behind the introduction of Ardhi Sasa, the system has unfortunately also been riddled with some challenges. These include the following:

  • Lack of awareness – Many Kenyans are not aware of the system and do not understand how it works, which has resulted in low uptake of the services available on Ardhi Sasa. There is a need for more public education and awareness campaigns, to educate citizens on the importance of the system and how to access its services.
  • Resistance to change – Apart from lack of awareness, the prevalent paradigm has been that land transactions should be undertaken through physically signed documents, including transfer instruments. Therefore, given the increasing instances of online fraud e.g., in e-commerce, the system has equally been met with suspicion, as some people are concerned that hackers may access Ardhi Sasa accounts and manipulate trans- Others have had difficulty in understanding how instruments can be prepared and signed online by the concerned parties, without signing them physically on paper. There is a need for effective stakeholder engagement and participation, to address these challenges and ensure the successful implementation of the system.
  • Lack of transparency – Much as the old manual system was fraught with challenges, it was somewhat transparent, as it was possible to ascertain from the available land records, the land officer who has been assigned a transaction for purposes of following up, in the event there was an issue with the registration A major challenge with the new system is that it is not possible for a user to ascertain from the system, the land official handling the matter. Therefore, it has been difficult to effectively follow up on transactions, as all queries should be channelled through the Ardhi Sasa customer care team, for escalation to the concerned personnel. At times, users’ concerns have not been addressed with the urgency they deserve. This has unnecessarily complicated the monitoring process by users’. The system should be upgraded to include particulars of land officials allocated the transactions, for transparency and effective follow up by the users.
  • Inaccurate or incomplete data – There have been concerns about the quality of data collected, including incomplete and inaccurate information, which affects the reliability of the sys- An example is that of inaccurate documents that have been scanned as digital records prior to the system launch. Some of these documents do not convey the actual position regarding properties. In such instances, the error has to be rectified with the input and consent of the system’s developers. It is important to have prompt rectification of errors by land personnel, whenever such errors are discovered.
  • User limitations – It has been noted that physically challenged persons may experience some challenges when accessing the This may happen in cases where visually impaired per- sons do not have specialised computers and software that may assist them in navigating Ardhi Sasa. As such, there is need for the system’s developers to ensure complementarity of features, to ensure that the system is easily accessible and navigable by every person who wishes to access it.


Like the proverbial wheel that keeps turning, continuous innovation in land administration and management is encouraged. It is only through such innovation that the government can ensure that all Kenyans engage in property transactions, in a manner that is secure, accessible and reliable. Effective civic education is equally encouraged, as it will empower the targeted users to optimise their use of the system in their various transactions. While we recognise that that the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning has had some education for the public and various stakeholders, it is clear that many stakeholders are still struggling to understand the Ardhi Sasa system.


Noting the infancy of the system, it is still too early to authoritatively judge its efficacy in terms of addressing all the challenges that existed under the manual system. However, the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning is encouraged to ensure the system is continuously updated, to address the existing challenges. Equally, the system should be enhanced to facilitate accessibility by all people, irrespective of their physical status. We remain optimistic that once the system is fully operational, all registered proprietors and professionals and other stakeholders using the system will be able to fast track property transactions. The system is still in the preliminary stages of deployment and we hope that its benefits will be enhanced, as challenges diminish over time.