News / Africa

Unresolved Land Issues Simmer Along Kenya's Coast

A new report says violence over land rights is on the increase in Kenya.  Lobby groups accuse the country's elite of making land grabs and pushing locals off their ancestral territory.

For decades, Kenya has witnessed land-related violence that has killed thousands pf people and displaced hundreds of thousands more from their homes.

A new report entitled "Unfinished Business of Land Issues in the Coast Region" highlights the tensions.

The Swiss-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre prepared the report.  The group's leader, Sebastian Albuja, says the report focuses on land issues that have not received much international attention.

"Displacement in Kenya has been focused predominately on the displacement caused by post-electoral violence in 2008.  Now this report is highlighting that there is all forms of displacement that are taking place in the coast region that are linked to land grabbing, that are linked to natural disasters.  Displacement in Kenya has many faces, is ongoing to date," said Albuja.

When Kenya gained independence in the 1960s, some groups of people were settled in coastal areas where indigenous people already lived.  The new communities were provided with title deeds, a document the indigenous people did not possess.

Those policies created tensions that have lasted to the present day.  Currently, tension is highest in the towns and villages around Lamu.  In the last two months, a group of gunmen have attacked civilians and security forces, killing more than 60 people and burning down homes, prompting thousands of people to move to safer areas.

Land issues came to the fore again last week, when President Uhuru Kenyatta reversed a move by the previous ruling government that gave 500,000 hectares of public land to just 22 individuals.

Albuja calls on Kenyan authorities to do more and strengthen government institutions to be able to deal with land rights disputes.

"It would be important to complete the land process that has been started.  This includes passing a law and all legal instruments related to the land reforms.  In other words, it's important to go beyond paying lip service to the issue of land reform and go beyond issues of making promises on land reforms," he said.

For now, a legal and political battle looms between the powerful individuals who own large chunks of land and the government, as Land Cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu says her office will investigate land allocation and ownership in the coastal region over the past 50 years.

 

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid