SNA-K is all about empowering, understanding and connecting peace in Kenya.
Narok is one of SNA-K’s projects, and, like I mentioned in the other blog, I will be focusing on the narok chapter.
Narok County is located in Rift Valley and constitutes 3 constituencies (Kilgoris, Narok North and Narok South). It’s a rural urban populated area, mostly by the Maasai community and Based on Narok Pop Pyramid Age Groups – 2009 there is more female than male population in the area (https://opendata.go.ke).
I was able to talk to Jackie and Caleb to learn more about the work that’s been going on in Narok in the past few months. It was exciting for me to interview them and read their reports to understand what it was all about, and now I pass the knowledge on to you.
Most of the main causes of conflict in Narok are related to land. SNA-K recently did a research into existing land issues in Narok. Their research highlighted key land issues – such as double leasing, family disputes, boundary disputes, and improper documentation and allocation, among other issues. The research also highlighted key areas of confusion and mistakes made by the general public when dealing with land issues. As land and issues surrounding it are so central to conflict in Narok, I’ve to write my first blog entry about Narok with a focus on summarizing the research findings, which form a basis of the issues that SNA-K hopes to help prevent and resolve in the Narok area.
One of the issues that the research found is lack of coordination between legal and traditional land acquisition, management and dispute resolution. SNA-K’s research revealed a complex struggle between variety of authorities and dispute resolution mechanisms. Individuals involved in traditional mechanisms and individuals on the ground seem to prefer the tribunals, and, because of their knowledge, they involve Elders. As it stands now, while the court has a final say, there are always more mechanisms to appeal to/through, and there is a lack of a clear ultimate arbitrator for disputes. Many institutional representatives interviewed expressed the need to work more closely with traditional mechanisms and vice versa.
Another major issue is that members of the public often do not secure documentation or follow correct procedures for land acquisition, management and conflict resolution. Common mistakes include not involving relevant parties, writing the wrong measurement of land (i.e. hectares vs. acres), and more.
Double leasing / double sale of land is another land issue that emerged from the research. The lack of understanding of how this works often leads to conflict. This issue goes hand in hand with boundary disputes and allocation, mostly as a result of lack of documentation and corruption.
Family disputes come up when ‘family land’ is sold by a family member without the consent of the entire family. This mistake extends from the family members and the buyer. Another type of family dispute revolves around inheritance and succession.
And finally, there is an issue of usage of public land specifically in the case of group ranches, which is complicated and often not well understood by the community.
There is definitely a lot of work to be done here, most of which involve civic education, and increase of coordination between government institutions and traditional mechanisms.
In our determination to make a difference thus promote peace, SNA-K is continually doing research by talking directly to the members of the community through land forums and rumor forums in Narok. Additionally, we recently held a stakeholders meeting which brought representatives from different stakeholder groups – including individuals from Councils of Elders, Local Administration officials, and members of the Judiciary, Lands Registry, and many more. This was a first step to open dialogue between institutions so that they can better understand one another and create materials to explain to the public how they relate to each other.
In my next blog, I am going to talk about some very interesting results that came from the forum, so be sure to be on the lookout.
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Have a lovely week folks