On Wednesday, July 24, eleven communities from Isiolo, Kajiado, Laikipia, Tana River, and Turkana counties that walked to Kenya walked to the Ministry of Lands on July 24 to submit their forms for recognition of their claim to land. These communities were the first people to attempt to register their land using the Community Land Act (2016). Each community used a legal empowerment approach to meet the requirements of the law, drafted local bylaws for land governance, elected inclusive Community Land Management Committees, and created evidence of the land they are claiming.
Unfortunately, the Ministry of Lands has not yet appointed community land registrars to facilitate the community land registration in counties. Additionally, the Ministry, in partnership with county governments, are yet to develop an inventory of all community lands in Kenya and roll out a public awareness programme on the law. This has left an estimated 3.5 million people unable to register their communal lands, covering roughly 390,000 square kilometers, or 67% of Kenya’s total landmass.
The events on July 24th indicate that a number of communities in Kenya have met all the requirements of the Community Land Act and are ready to have their land registered. The communities have done their part – it is now time for the Ministry to do its part.
Join us in supporting these communities by signing a petition that the Ministry of Lands processes these applications and deploys the systems and personnel needed to implement the law across Kenya.
We are looking for as many signatures as possible, from civil society organizations to communities themselves. It will be promoted in the media, and sent to the Ministry of Lands, National Lands Commission, Office of the Vice President, Office of the Deputy President, and several of Kenya’s major development partners.
Our demands are simple - and already required by law.
Specifically, we demand that the Ministry of Lands, under the leadership of the Cabinet Secretary, does the following:
- Immediately gazette and deploy Community Land Registration Units in accordance with the Land Registration Act of 2012.
- Appoint, train, and deploy Community Land Registrars to each of the Community Land Registration Units to facilitate the processing of community land claims.
- Implement the legally mandated national public awareness programme on the Community Land Act.
- Provide detailed guidance to county governments on the legally managed submission of community land inventories for each county.
- Process the submitted applications from the 11 communities in a timely manner.
Please join us in solidarity with the eleven communities that submitted their registration and the thousands of other communities whose land rights are at risk because of the delayed implementation of the Community Land Act.