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The Dawn of Uhuru? Implications of Constitutional Recognition of Communal Land Rights in Pastoral Areas of Kenya

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Despite large portions of land being communally owned in Kenya for centuries, the legal and policy framework on land tenure has, since 1954, focused on private ownership as the best way of managing land. This article assesses the impact that this dominant approach has had on pastoral land uses. Based on the case study of the Northern Rangelands Trust, a registered trust that provides a framework for community involvement in conservation and other livelihood options in the arid and semi-arid parts of northern Kenya, the article looks at the innovations that communities have made to provide legal support for communal land practices. The article argues that the recent land-policy changes heralded by the 2010 Constitution promise greater recognition and support for pastoralism but that, on their own, they are insufficient.
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Keywords: COMMUNAL LAND RIGHTS; GROUP RANCHES; KENYA; LAND USE; PASTORALISM; TENURE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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