Women’s Rights to Land Reforms are being Delayed - Kenya
[From GenderGovernanceKenya.org] The implementation of the new constitution process - particularly enacting legislation concerning Women’s Rights to Land is being constantly dogged by a myriad of problems that are stagnating the entire process and women access to land. Some of the leading challenges dogging the process include problems such as the lack of or mere cosmetic stakeholder consultations by the institutions charged with the implementation process, lack of a clear cut implementation framework, insufficient public education and poor service delivery by the ministry of lands.
The other critical stumbling block to the process is the marked delays in establishing a Lands Commission to bridge the transition vacuum and the urgent need for a National Lands Commission to drive issues relating to the implementation framework, reforms legislation, improved service delivery, public education including other urgent land reforms aspects. This is further compounded by delays in reviewing institutional structures since the current structures to those proposed in the land policy and the new constitutional demands that are supposed to be the steering backbone of the whole implementation process.
A stakeholders team led by the Kituo Cha Sheria is therefore demanding that the government should immediately review and reorganize the country’s land administration structures in the ministry of lands, other related ministries and agencies in preparation for the setting up of the institutional structures provided for under the National Land Policy and The Constitution. Kituo Cha Sheria has been undertaking civic education on the NLP and CoK chapter 5 around the country in the regions of Coast, Rift valley and Nyanza. The purpose of the civic education awareness is to educate the citizenry on their land rights and promote public participation in the implementation process of the NLP and other legislations on land and property. The awareness is also geared towards sensitizing the communities on women’s rights to land as stated in the CoK and International instruments ratified by Kenya.
The Kituo Cha Sheria Executive Director, Priscilla Nyokabi says: “Women form the largest part of the Kenyan population and are naturally charged with the responsibility of upbringing families yet they have been continually discriminated upon by the different cultural and religious practices that tend to favor men when it comes to ownership of land as property.” Ms Nyokabi says that it is against this backdrop that Kituo seeks to push towards acceleration of enactment and implementation of legislations on land and property in view of Article 68 under the Fifth schedule of the constitution, to promote and protect women’s rights to land and property.
“We believe that this meeting is of outmost importance and therefore inviting you to come and participate in the advocacy process in passing gender sensitive laws and especially the matrimonial property bill that is not being given much focus yet it forms part of the legislations on land to be enacted within 18 months period after promulgation of the constitution,” she said.
So far Kituo Cha Sheria has invited members of the CIC and PSC among other land experts to come and lead discussions on, Matrimonial property bill- strengths and weaknesses, Women, land and environment Rights’ and Strategies of realizing gender equity and equality as envisaged in the constitution as we look forward 2012 general elections. Says the Executive Director: “The immediate formation of an independent National land commission to manage public land on behalf of the national and county governments and implementation of the land policy as entailed in the new constitution has been termed as a possible permanent solution to land issues that have been and remain the most sensitive in Kenya.”
You can read the full article on Gender Governance Kenya.