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By August 27, 2022September 7th, 2022One Comment


Online portals have gained popularity in our society today. Entities both large and small, such as financial institutions, universities, corporations have all opted for one stop online portals.

Having an online system has made it easier for these institutions and individuals in service delivery to serve people better as they no longer have to be in queues for hours on end.

This approach has also been embraced by Government institutions all over the world and Kenya has not been left behind.

ECitizen was launched in 2014 by the Kenyan Government. The main objective was to have a system for information and service delivery. By launching the portal it also meant that the Kenyan Citizens could complete their transactions from the comfort of their offices or wherever they are.

It is worth noting that ECitizen is an initiative by the Ministry of Finance and is managed by the I.C.T Authority of Kenya.

The services and information are organized in neat categories that enable Kenyans to find what they need easily. This neat organization further ensures that the services and information provided by the platform are directly delivered by the correct agency with the right knowledge.

In my line of work, I interact quite a lot with the eCitizen portal especially Business Registration Services and the Ministry of Lands.

1. Business Registration Services

The Companies Act 2015, brought the transformation in the registration process by allowing the adoption of online platform to streamline the various process.

We have seen the shift from manual lodging of documents and registration to an online registration system on the eCitizen platform.

It is now possible for one to make the following applications online;

  1. Reservation of Company and Business Names;
  2. Registration of Company, Business Names and Limited Liability Partnerships;
  3. Changes when it comes to the officials; shareholdings, addresses;
  4. Obtaining the Status reports of companies (formerly known as “CR 12”);
  5. Filing of annual returns;
  6. Change of Company Name;
  7. Conversion of a Business to a company;
  8. Cessation of a Business.

It is important to note that the system generated forms have a bar code that is unique to whatever service you intend to execute.

2. Linking a business

Linking of a business is a simple concept that many individuals who own companies and business are not quite conversant with.

In the spirit of implementing the statutory mandate of maintaining data and registers of the business, the service has introduced a procedure called “Link a Business” as part of proper record keeping and an audit trail.

Has there been sufficient sensitization of the same? In my opinion, no. I still meet many directors and shareholders in my line of work who do not understand the concept.

It is worth noting the following when it comes to linking of a business;

  1. Linking is done on an individual eCitizen account. This means that an agent cannot act on your behalf without access to a director(s) or proprietor(s) individual eCitizen account;
  2. Failure to link a business will render it impossible for one to process any service online.

The process of a linking a business involves inputting the details of directors, shareholders or proprietors of a company or business online. This is enabled by clicking on the Link a Business” tab. The information uploaded is then verified by company registry. In the event there are records missing or one has not filed their annual returns as regards to the company, the same is communicated online.

In case of missing records, an individual might be called upon to attend the company registry to adduce the aforesaid records. It is important to note that, a company or business cannot be linked and verified until your records are proper.

A question to be raised is what happens when one cannot find their company online? This happens when there is double registration of a company or business name. Digitization of the company registry has seen a number of companies and business archived due to double registration of a company or business name.

You will find in such circumstances, the recently registered company is the one to be archived.

If your find yourself in such a predicament, one is advised to change their company name. This is also done online, however, not at the Business Registration Service portal but at Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice portal. With the neat organization, you cannot miss on the latter portal.

Once is issued with a Certificate of Change of Name, of course after paying the requisite fee, one is required to take it to the company registry for verification purposes in order to have the same reflect online.

3. Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning

Digitization of the land records in Kenya began in 2013 to give effect to Section 9 and 10 of the Land Registration Act 2012. Section 9 of the Act gives the Land Registrar the power to maintain the register and any document required to be kept under this Act in a secure, accessible and reliable format including electronic files.

Further, Section 10 of the Act further emphasizes that the Registrar shall make information on the register accessible to the public by electronic means or any other means as the Chief Land Registrar may deem fit.

The former Cabinet Secretary, Hon Charity Ngilu began the digitization process with an aim of bringing efficiency and transparency in the land sector in Kenya. On 3rd April 2018, the current cabinet secretary, Ms. Farida Karoney launched the digitization of the land registry at Ardhi house.

The digitization was to facilitate the following applications online;

  1. Searches on titles to properties;
  2. Land Rent Clearance Certificate, demand notice and payments;
  3. Transfer of ownership of property;
  4. Assessment of stamp duty;
  5. Creation of Securities against property;
  6. Land Rate; and
  7. Mass Titling program verification.

It is now possible to make the following applications online;

4. Searches on titles to properties

In conducting searches on land, one is required to upload a clear complete copy of the title. The land registry shall then examine the uploaded title before prompting you to make payment for the land search. In the event the copy is not clear or incomplete, the same shall be rejected and reasons for rejection given.

5. Land Rent Clearance Certificate, demand notice and payments;

For payment of land rent, the rent payable is dependent on the location of the land, size and land tenure system. Payments are strictly done online and a paid invoice is automatically generated.

The Rent Clearance Certificate is thereafter automatically generated. In order for the Rent Clearance Certificate to be validated one has to take the Clearance Certificate together with the paid invoice to Ardhi house for the auditor to confirm payment and validate the same.

When one looks at the portal, it should be a one stop shop but unfortunately that is not the case. The aforementioned services are the only ones available and yet they are inefficient. At the end of the day, one still has to visit the land registry to complete the online process or prompt the attendants at the registry to work on your matter.

Quite unfortunate!

Unfortunately, the following services are still not available online;

  1. Transfer of ownership of property;
  2. Assessment of stamp duty;
  3. Creation of Securities against property;
  4. Land Rate; and
  5. Mass Titling program verification.

This is because the automated programme has stalled due to various challenges including missing and torn records, lack of capacity building, poor working environment, lack of integrity by the department, use of outdated practices and systems.

In my view, digitization of the land office has long way to go. However, there is hope. The department needs to first implement interim measures to facilitate a smooth efficient and effective system.

As it stands, we have to work with the online system vis a viz the manual system until the digitization process is concluded.


Four years later, we are still trying to digitize our government system with something new coming up every day. Further, there is clear lack of sensitization by the government to its citizens on the eCitizen portal. With clear guidelines and sensitization of Kenyans on the same we can complete the digitization process.

Upgrading the system to activate the services that are dormant and improving on those that are active will significantly improve service delivery. This will see an end of manual registration process at the land registry to an online registration system.

This further will lead to improved accountability mechanism.

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