Resource Conflict Institute


Mama fetching waterLand has always been a bone of contention and a root cause of many tribal community clashes in and around Kenya. In my travel around the country I sort to find out what is this indispensable commodity called community land.

According to Mama Leiyan a vegetable vendor in Laikipia County described community land as “Yale mashamba ambayo yamemilikiwa na jamii kwa muda wa miaka mingi” translated as the land owned by a certain community for a very long time and normally passed on from one generation to another. On the other hand, Mr David Kimalel a pastoralist in Laikipia County described community land as that portion of land that has no specific owner but everyone from that locality has a right to benefit from.

Still I was not satisfied and when I got to Nakuru town I thought may be a university student would also contribute to what community land really is.

So I meet Ms Lissa Sempeiyo she says community land, is a big chunk of land that contains a number of natural resources namely; pasture, water, wildlife heritage and indigenous community majorly located in the ASAL’s Counties in Kenya.

This led me to wonder what exactly a community land is, because I got three different answers, not to wonder if I added the fourth the situation would be critical and more confusing.

To understand the right definition and the rights of the community land it is thus important to refer to the country’s manual and book of reference. Therefore, according to Chapter 5 Article 63 of the constitution of Kenya;

  1. (1) Community land shall vest in and be held by communities identified on the basis of ethnicity, culture or similar community of interest.
    (2) Community land consists of-
    (a) land lawfully registered in the name of group representatives under the provisions of any law;
    (b) land lawfully transferred to a specific community by any process of law;
    (c) any other land declared to be community land by an Act of Parliament; and
    (d) land that is—
    (i) lawfully held, managed or used by specific communities as community forests, grazing areas or shrines;
    (ii) ancestral lands and lands traditionally occupied by hunter-gatherer communities; or
    (iii) lawfully held as trust land by the county governments, but not including any public land held in trust by the county government under Article 62 (2).
    (3) Any unregistered community land shall be held in trust by county governments on behalf of the communities for which it is held.
    (4) Community land shall not be disposed of or otherwise used except in terms of legislation specifying the nature and extent of the rights of members of each community individually and collectively.
    (5) Parliament shall enact legislation to give effect to this Article.

Therefore, this means that for a land to be called community land it has to be lawfully registered under a certain group representative even if they are pastoralists or not. The community will therefore benefit from the resources that are contained in that land such as, water, grazing areas, minerals among other resources.

From the above, it show that whatever is on paper in terms of rights to ownership as well as definition of the terms is not what is understood by Wanjiku.  It is thus important to sensitize the community on matters of constitution.  Especially the marginalized communities in Kenya as well as pastoralists who experiences the heat of their rights being violated.

Do you know your rights to the community land? Do you benefit from it? Are you responsible to its development or are you between the pollutant as well as part of the problem? A you sure the Community land that you claim to own is registered?


Opinion in the Matter of the National Land Commission Advisory

Advisory Opinion [2015]eKLR was indeed a waste of tax payers’ money.

The mandates of NLC are very clear as per the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.

The Constitution being the supreme law indicates that it supersedes the subsidiary laws.

This therefore subjects Land Laws, 2012 and the Community Land Bill to uphold the mandates as clearly bestowed under chapter five and more specifically article 67 of the Constitution.

Further it ought to be noted that the mandates of the Ministry of Land and NLC are based on the aspects of separation of power, independence of bodies and interdependence thus coordination and cooperation.

To want the mandates to be totally separated is unrealistic though it is appreciated that there are those mandates which are exclusive for the Ministry and those for the NLC.

For instance the Constitution has expressly provided that NLC are to advise the national government on a comprehensive programme for the registration of title in land throughout Kenya.

If NLC claims that it has mandates to register land yet the Constitution provides that NLC is to advise on a comprehensive programme for registration.

Therefore how can NLC advise itself?

Fetching Life Underneath

Sand valleys are the only source of water for this pastorolist communities during dry seasons.

A Pastoralist woman was generous enough to help us with water at the Loisokut river in Mukogondo in Laikipia County.



Is it that we Kenyans are so forgetful or we just like trending with anything that comes? Am afraid because we are standing on shaky grounds as far as land maters are concerned.

It’s been several years since we last heard about historical injustice which was brought to light by CORD leaders as a way of putting the government to the lime light, especially the two heads who own quite some ambiguous pieces of land.

The problem was all this was political and at the end I knew something else would appear so as to make Kenyans lose focus on historical injustice issue.

As we speak Waiguru is trending in Kenya over the NYS scandal and that makes it a very good reason for us to overlook other important matters which will haunt us back sooner than later.

Over time I’ve heard people say that we Kenyans are very forgetful and where I stand I think am convinced that it is true.

In reference to Dr. Catherine Boone paper “Land Conflict and Distributive Politics in Kenya” (or “What to Expect When We’re Expecting an Election”?) Posted on May 3, 2012

She argues that even with the incorporate of land policy into Kenyans new constitution there is every reason to believe that in the near future, highly politicized land conflict will continue. This is because land politics in Kenya is a redistributive game that creates winners and losers. Given the intensely redistributive potential of the impending changes in Kenya’s land regime and the implications of the downward shift in the locus of control over land allocation through decentralization of authority to county governments there is no guarantee that legislators or citizens will be able to agree on concrete laws to realize the constitution’s calls for equity and justice in land matters.

This argument brings me back to the 2007/2008 post-election violence, was it as a result of ethnicity or was it land issues? Someone tell me what the problem was.

Why did we start categorizing people from where their ancestors are said to have come from? Do we even know who they were in the first place?

Well much has been said about the same but what I know is that our fore fathers fought for independence so that we Kenyans would have rights over the land.

My take is that this great men and women didn’t fight for a particular group of people to own land, rather they fought it for all of us thus the name KENYA and not an acronym of the ‘few’ land lords.

Therefore I think its historical injustice for ‘Specific leaders’ and whites to own chunk of land while someone somewhere is a squatters.

How then do we deal with historical injustice????

Blog at

Up ↑