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Kenya moves toward new land policy
As reported in the Daily Nation by Ibrahim Mwathane, the cabinet of the Kenyan government has recently approved sweeping changes to the country’s land resource policy. This hopeful move, ahead of the African Union’s 13th Summit focusing on land and agriculture, has been a long time coming. The formulation of a new land policy began in 2004 but was beleaguered by political upheavals, including a 2005 referendum and the violence following the 2007 general elections. Some of the key proposals in the new policy include:
• The development of a national land-use policy to support greater agricultural production, environmental conservation, rural and urban planning, management of wildlife and location of industries.
• The introduction of stakeholder and community-driven land institutions at the national and local levels. The Ministry of Lands will handle policy, budgetary, monitoring and evaluation issues, while a National Land Commission, district and community land boards will handle service delivery at the national and local levels.
• The establishment of an inventory of public land for ease of protection and management.
• The recovery of previously irregularly allocated public land.
• A mechanism for addressing issues relating to pastoral land, coastal region, rights of women, children, internally displaced persons, informal settlement dwellers, the marginalized and vulnerable individuals and groups.
The women of Kenya also stand to benefit significantly from the implementation of the new land policy. In an article by Emeka-Mayaka Gekara, also for the Daily Nation, the inclusion of women in inheritance and property acquisition laws is highlighted with the most controversial article granting women the ability to “secure inheritance rights of unmarried daughters in line with practices of respective communities.” The Federation of International Women Lawyers-Kenya pronounced the move as “historic and important” and praised the Cabinet for approving a “policy that ensures equal rights to land for both men and women.”
Posted By Lopaka Purdy at 11:16am on July 17, 2009
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