The challenge that has troubled Kenya’s land sector stems from historical practices.
In the past, land was given out by the President, District Commissioners, Land Commissioner and clerks of local authorities. Clerks were working at the behest of county or municipal councillors.
Each time someone was elected into the now-defunct county councils, land would be used to buy their loyalty. When one was found to be in good books with the Kanu regime, they got land. When one wanted to preserve his kingdom after attaining leadership, they used land as a gift to earn followers. Land then was a reward for loyalty so no procedure was followed.
It never occurred to the perpetrators that there would be a reform process that would take away the powers from individuals to one institution.
That explains why the land reforms question has faced a lot of challenges. If you get anyone who is very rich in Kenya, usually they own huge parcels of land. Even if you look at how the white settler farms were transferred, it was our own powerful people who took over the sprawling farms.
Land has been used to dispossess the poor and to reward the rich so that they can continue ruling. That is why the issue of land cannot be solved easily. Looking at even family to family set up, you find that those who have land continued to get more. This is what created vigilante groups – most of the youths were from families that had been dispossessed.
This is the same reason the government has a problem with implementing the Community Land Act.
The government is not at ease with it. This is because it requires that any communal land be handed back to the respective community.
Individuals who grabbed cannot allow communities to own the parcels. The coastal region or Maasai land is a case in point.
The National Land Commission cannot do much because the bosses are appointees of the State; they work at the behest of those in power. The people in power are protecting their land. Name them, who is who in the Republic of Kenya, the land question is what troubles them.
There is no one – from among the who is who in power today – who doesn’t have a land problem.
That is why it is not easy to land a senior position in the NLC.
See the link: https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2020-04-24-land-used-as-bribe-to-reward-loyalty/