Stop the violation of Land Rights against Lmaa community in Laikipia County.
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The land issues in Laikipia County is as a result of huge underlying, unsettled historical injustices committed against indigenous communities (Maasai, Samburu and Pokot) who used these lands which were deemed not viable for cultivation north of the 600mm rainfall band for grazing during the dry seasons (evidence can be traced back to as late as 1970s). However, after Independence commercial interests from the political class and influences from leaders of the time saw an increase in the number of land owners specifically from the other communities who bought parcels of these lands and utilized them as collateral to acquire loans from the Agricultural Development Corporation. In latter years (1980s to 90s), commercial ranch managers setting up as brokers, managed to convince these absentee land owners to consolidate their holdings and sell them to an emerging clientele comprising of foreign commercial farmers, diplomats, aid workers, foreign retired civil servants etc. These new crop of buyers came together and fenced of large parts of these lands, which created a lot of stress on access to land for grazing to the pastoralist communities around the area who have used these land for generations - before the 1911 treaty with the British government was signed, that saw pastoralist communities move to make way for the large commercial ranches owned by British settlers and reneged the assurance that the lands one to the north of the newly-constructed Kenya Uganda railway, and the other south of it , would belong to the Lmaa community as a right of the Lmaa people "as long as they shall exist as a race" . As it stands 40.3% of the land in Laikipia is owned by 48 individuals and commercial entities, in the last century 4 legal attempts to regain the lands to its rightful owners - the 1913 court case, a 1932 petition to the Kenya Land Commission of 1933 - 34, and a plea made at Kenya Constitutional Conference in London during 1962 on the eve of Kenya’s independence - have failed stifling the economy of pastoralist communities around the area with a predominant Maasai population. consequently, this has brought about strain on land for pasture and water, and as a ripple effect, these factors have influenced natural resource conflicts among communities stretching from Laikipia to Samburu and Baringo Counties.
This petition is directing the Kenyan National assembly to set land rights for the Maasai and other pastoral communities in Laikipa County as an urgent topic for deliberations in order to solve the current conflict that engulfed Laikipia County from 2016 to date. This is key to settling parts of the historical injustices committed against the Lmaa Communities across the country, that have seen minimal attention as a national agenda by successive government since independence. If the Lmaa of Laikipia County get their birthright and are allowed to thrive and flourish in their own lands, then the perennial problem of natural resource conflict and confrontations between illegal land owners and pastoralist communities in Laikipia County will be averted. This will also contribute to peace and stability in the region and the Country.
I stand as a member of the Lmaa community, born and raised in Samburu County where I have seen my brother and sisters in the neighboring County suffer losses from violent conflicts in efforts to secure land for their flock to graze and drink in the same tracks of land that their ancestors roamed freely and without fear of persecution for the land was naturally handed down to them before a government was mulled in these boundaries we now call Kenya. I have done my part as a patriotic Lmaa and as a Kenyan, I now call Upon the action of the Kenyan National Assembly and specifically Honorable members of the 11th Legislative Assembly from the Lmaa community to take up this matter as an issue of greater national interest and liberate the Lmaa and other pastoralist communities in Laikipa county from this selective, systemic oppression that has been on going for over a century to this day.
Moving the Maasai - A Colonial Misadventure By Dr. Lotte Hughes
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