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12.00  Community Land Legislation: An Opportunity for Balance between Ethnic and Territorial Citizenship in Kenya

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9:00, Monday 6 Jun 2016 (30 minutes)

This paper will describe a possible civil society organization approach to analyzing and advocating for a community land legislation in Kenya that responds to historical and contemporary matters of land tenure. It will present basic information on the land tenure and citizenship, analysis methodology, and identifies key issues that must be addressed in developing and deploying a community land legislation in Kenya. The paper will then present a framework developed by the author—a comprehensive set of techniques, tools, and best practices to speed community land legislation in Kenya implementation using toolsets with which organizations are familiar.  

Although I will make reference to an extensive body of research and literature describing the community land legislation in Kenya, that body of knowledge is constantly being expanded by the numerous analyses and scholarship, and as such this paper cannot comprehensively cover such a complex topic or reflect accurately many of the nuances of community land legislation in Kenya and implementation. Instead, the paper will revisit how the use of heritage is deployed in Siaya as a discourse and claim for secure land tenure. Analyzing the petition of Martin Magina Okoyo & Another v. Bondo County Council, Siaya County Council and Dominion Farms LTD where an application was made praying for several orders against the defendants jointly and severally. The said application makes prayers for interim orders of injunction to stop the defendants from interfering with community land measuring 3700 hectares.  

The plaintiffs stated that their basis of the claim was that they are the residents of Yala Swamp and are subsistence farmers as well as fishermen. They further asserted that they have been in occupation of the contested area and perused their economic activities since time immemorial. The paper shall make use of this material to provide new insight into the role of individuals and autonomous groups in promoting what is a potentially subversive expression of heritage. This will demonstrate the uses of heritage and heritage narratives in cultural rights claims that ultimately cast heritage in profoundly different ways to state or international bodies.

Steve Akoth


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