Cabinet Secretary for Petroleum and Mining John Munyes has urged Turkana community elders to be at the forefront of protecting the common land from looters in order to curb the illegal acquisitions of less and less grazing land.
Speaking in Lodwar Town during a session sponsored by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) to raise awareness of the Community Land Act 2016 among residents, Munyes advised elders to be careful about selling or leasing land.
âWhere will the cattle graze? Why can’t you advise people entering the pasture not to cross the marked boundary to distinguish between human-occupied areas and areas designated for grazing? âAsked Munyes.
Munyes said Turkana County is primarily a pastoral community with livestock being the main livelihood, hence the need to protect pastureland.
âWe have to protect the land on which the cattle can survive, we will develop Turkana, we will allow the infrastructure, we will allow LAPSSET and others, but not at the expense of cattle breeding, we have shepherds in Botswana, Ethiopia, we need ours Protect cattle. ââ Munyes repeated.
He praised the efforts of development partners Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mercy Corps, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia (KESSUGET), Turkana and others in preventing, managing and resolving land-related conflicts and natural resources in Turkana in district.
Munyes advocated drafting a law that would protect shepherds in relation to land ownership, as a larger percentage of Turkana’s residents practice cattle-raising as a way of life.
âThere should be a law protecting the river basins so that even when the urban areas are congested, there is room for the shepherds. It’s just the legislation that will help us because land issues are emotional, âhe added.
Munyes urged the Turkana County Government and partners to develop the unused land in Turkana to encourage ecotourism through the establishment of nature reserves. He highlighted the Samburu case, where nature reserves had been set up to encourage ecotourism, which in turn contributed to economic development.
âWe should use land appropriately and more productively; This county has many natural resources, we should organize people to come together to have access to these resources, âMunyes said.
Loima’s MP Jeremiah Lomorukai said that livestock farming in Turkana County is threatened by land grabbing and suggested that leaders advocate land ruling and registration with residents as a permanent solution to the problem.
“The way the land is confiscated is like we don’t value so-called livestock, it should be known that livestock is a larger percentage of our lives,” Lomorukai said.
Lomorukai urged the Turkana County Government’s Land Ministry to use technology to digitize the system of land allocation to people.
He emphasized that the process of land registration according to the provisions of the Municipal Land Act of 2016, which categorizes Turkana as community land, must be carried out according to the opinion of the local municipality.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Land Alliance (KLA), Faith Alubbe, briefed participants on the provisions of the Community Land Act 2016 on land registration. Alubbe articulated that the community had the right to own the land.
âIn the common land, people have an innate right to own it. Prior to the registration process, the municipality should develop bylaws that will serve as a guide on what to exclude from inventory, such as shrines, graves and others, âAlubbe said.
Esther Lokweei, Chief Executive Committee Member (CECM) of Turkana County, encouraged the partners to work hand in hand with the Turkana County Government and advised residents to be careful about how they should be entered in the land registry.
“The land registry must be aware of the fact that the Turkana people are shepherds,” assured CEC Lokweei.
The CEC recalled that the district government’s first attempt to register the land in Turkana had failed when the inventory did not meet the desired standards. However, she promised that there is currently enough budget available to ensure that the current inventory meets the requirements needed to start the land registry process.
From Ekuwam Sylvester