Land tenure systems in Masailand (focus on Kajiado county Kenya)


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Presentation on land tenure systems in Masailand (focus on Kajiado county Kenya) by Samwel Jakinda (NIA)

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Land tenure systems in Masailand (focus on Kajiado county Kenya)

  1. 1. LAND TENURE SYSTEMS IN MASAILAND (FOCUS ON KAJIADO COUNTY) The evolution of land tenure systems in Kajiado can best be illustrated by the change in political leadership of the land. These can be stated as pre-colonial, colonial, independence (Jomo Kenyatta), Post independence (Moi), Current (Kibaki & Uhuru
  2. 2. Pre-colonial Historically the Maasai were the first inhabitants of East Africa. They came along the river Nile and settled in Kenya and practiced a nomadic pastoralist land tenure system. This was strongly guided by nomadic way of life, pegged on availability of pasture and water resources.
  3. 3. Pre-colonial They settled within the former white highlands in Kenya and that is why the present names of popular towns in the area bear Maasai names. These include:  Nanyuki-  Nakuru-  Laikipia –  Nairobi-  Kinangop-  Naivasha-  Nyahururu-
  4. 4. Pre-colonial They were known as the kings of East Africa. They were roving all over and never believed in land privatization or land ownership. They believed land belonged to the present and future generation and that land can never be a commodity for sale. It was a natural asset for all to use. Land ownership and privatization is an alien concept to the Maasai pastoralists.
  5. 5. Colonial It was the onset of the scramble for Africa when Kenya was partitioned to be under the British rule in the early 1890’s. The British were the first newcomers who manipulated the Maasai out of their land through fraud, cheating and physically forcing the Maasai out of the above mentioned areas. There were several land agreements which were made between the spiritual Maasai leader Olonana and the British in 1904 and 1910
  6. 6. Colonial These agreements opened the way for the British to push the Maasai out of the land popularly known as the white highlands by force. The Maasai protested and there is a known case by Olegilisho taken to the UK to resist and question the British occupation of the Maasai land.
  7. 7. Colonial As colonialists, they introduced the British land laws that were detrimental to the nomadic pastoralists land tenure system e.g land ownership and privatization. Using these laws, the Maasai were pushed out. Majority came down south, the rest went west and some went towards Mt. Kenya.
  8. 8. Kenyatta Regime The first regime, during independence adapted in total the British land tenure system. The Maasai land was subdivided into three zones, high potential, medium potential and low potential.
  9. 9. Kenyatta Regime Within the high potential areas, the land was divided into small farms between 100-1000 acres for high crops e.g. along Ngong hills and Loitokitok. Also in the early sixties, the national parks were carved out of Maasai Land e.g. Nairobi , Amboseli, Tsavo West and Maasai Mara national parks. These high potential zones and national parks were the best dry season grazing areas using the pastoral land tenure system.
  10. 10. Kenyatta Regime The medium potential parts which were very good ranch lands for livestock rearing were divided into individual ranches ranging from 1000-5000 acres. The high potential and the medium potential areas were allocated to the influential and elite at that time e.g. Chiefs, Pastors, and teachers.
  11. 11. Kenyatta Regime The lower potential which is mainly arid and semi arid was subdivided into group ranches where land is owned communally as a group. And membership ranged from 100-1000 per household
  12. 12. Moi Regime 80% of Maasai land was under group ranch system until early 1984 where the group ranches were dissolved and the clamor for privatization of group ranches started. And now, over 70% of group ranches have been dissolved and privatized. This opened a Pandora’s box and a crisis for the majority of the pastoralists where land became a commodity for sale.
  13. 13. Moi Regime There was a big rush to Maasai land to buy land. Presently over 30% of former group ranches have been sold to outsiders. This was the beginning of another land tenure system where the land use policy changed from pastoralism to individual titles and new practices of land use systems were introduced e.g agri-business, horticulture, kenchick, flower farms etc.
  14. 14. Current situation The above land use systems introduced had great impact on the fragile environment. e.g. high use of fertilizers, GMO, overuse of underground water to appoint where the land may not be economically viable for those new activity in the near future.
  15. 15. Current Situation This new land tenure system after privatization completely disrupted the ecosystem of this fragile environment e.g. the wildlife corridors were completely disrupted, the ground water system exhausted/over exploited making traditional wells to dry up.
  16. 16. Current situation It has also disrupted the traditional social set up where families are nolonger living together as families but as individuals. The new law of trespassing became the order of the day creating crises, misunderstanding, and loss of family values.
  17. 17. Impact of current land tenure system  Both side of the land along Nairobi Namanga road has been sold 20-30km inwards creating a buffer zone across the county. The land control boards are completely overwhelmed by the number of land brokers who control the buying and selling of land in the county. There could be more land brokers than land sellers in Kajiado county. They exploit the illiterate pastoralists by taking more than half of the sale proceeds of the land.  The lawyers are conduits for this mischief. There are several cases of land fraud, land cheating, land manipulation e.g. when you have a joint title, there are cases of joint titles where titles have a lot of fraud
  18. 18. Impact of current land tenure system  Some of the threats and impacts of the land sale are as follows  Assimilation: Because of the new comers overtaking ownership of land, the Maasai pastoralists are under threat of being assimilated into other communities  Wildlife threat: Because of the encroachment of new comers and closing up of livestock corridors, the wildlife movement is under threat and that can completely threaten the existence of wildlife in this country.  The production of beef: Pastoral land is diminishing and this will lead to less rearing of beef animals leading to importation of meat from other countries.  The over exploitation of underground water: given the fact that this is a dry area with less rainfall. Most of the newcomers are drilling boreholes hence over exploitation of ground water resources.
  19. 19. Impact of current land tenure system  Environmental degradation. ASAL areas are fragile and they have got special land tenure system for livestock keeping and any other land use system may lead to environmental degradation.  Leadership: Local leadership is in jeopardy because of numerical strength of new comers eg. Kajiado East, Kajiado Central and Kajiado South.  Rural Urban migration. Dropout pastoralist who became paupers/ beggars.  Mushrooming of shanty towns e.g. Mile 46, Bissil, Ngatataek leading to the Maasai to be living in slums.
  20. 20. The way out (Kenny’s Words)  I say the way out because it is not the way forward because we are in a trap. We must therefore develop local mechanisms to get out of the trap. Many at times, leaders, organizations, lament about the consequences of the new land tenure system but very few fear to rock the boat. It is time that we stopped lamenting and take the bull by its horns. E.g. presently, in most cases, you find local administrators spearheading the land buying and land selling. Most of them are land brokers. The elite should be on the forefront in educating the public on the consequences of land selling. They should provoke debates and name and shame the perpetrators of this heinous thing.  It is also possible to propose to the new county administration to put a moratorium on land sells for even ten years until a new generation comes up. The county should also develop a fund for study of land injustices and to help poor and vulnerable groups that are aggrieved. It should also help equitable subdivision of group ranches and dissolve group ranch committees that have been the culprits of inequality and unfair allocation. They can set up a commission.
  21. 21. The way out  Physical planning: the county physical planning must be revisited, reviewed and must be in tandem with the new constitutional dispensation on land planning. Where physical planning was violated, it should be nullified. That is now taking the bull by its horns.  Respect to environmental impact assessment reports and plans. The county should take a stand. E.g. the flower firms, quarries in Engirrgirri, dumping of waste, sand harvesting and the companies should be made to respect their social responsibilities. (Environmental management plans).  The county should revisit the concession agreements of big companies so as to engage the locals in revenue sharing.  The county and the local leaders should keenly follow up the national land commission policies and deliberations in order to develop and comprehensive strategy that will address the above mentioned interventions and especially historical land injustice that are known.
  22. 22. NIA’s efforts  NIA has a comprehensive social justice programme that addresses land rights, child rights, environmental rights. Some of the activities implemented since 1996 todate are as follows.  Recruited, trained 52 paralegals through a four phase programme and are spread within our 14 neighbourhoods. These individuals received a paralegal residential training that gives them the basic legal knowledge in social justice.
  23. 23. NIA’s efforts  Funded or supported by paying of title deeds of the poor and vulnerable in Oloiyiangalani, Esukuta, Kilonito, Elangatawuas, Olobelibel, Ilodo Ariak  Lobby and campaign for land rights and sensitization against land sales e.g. putting bill boards, selling wealth to buy poverty.
  24. 24. NIA’s efforts  Recruited, trained and established an environmental unit (CURES) that are lobbyists and link persons on environmental issues in their respective neighbourhoods.  Supported with legal lawsuits for equity in land subdivision of several group ranches e.g. Kilonito, Elangatawuas, Sajiloni, Ilodo Ariak where the high court of Kenya nullified poor subdivision of these group ranches.  Supported the poor and vulnerable to pay for land survey fees e.g. the widows, single mothers and the elderly in the above mentioned group ranches.
  25. 25. NIA’s efforts  Helped Emboliei community with land grabbing issues from influencial persons  Workshops on land rights in several group ranches.  Participated in national, regional and international land conferences.  The CEO is the vice chair of the ASAL forum, a new forum formed to look into ASAL policies.
  26. 26. NIA’s efforts
  27. 27. NIA’s efforts
  28. 28. THE END