Over promising while Under Delivering: Implementation of Kenya’s Community Land Act

Collins Odote Oloo, Rahma Hassan, Husna Mubarak


Kenya’s constitution of 2010 provides for recognition, protection, and registration of community land. This is significant because it recognizes customary tenure after decades of historical bias towards private property and brings to the fore the uniqueness of the African commons. We revisit the debate on managing communal land by reviewing the process of implementation of the Community Land. The paper is based on a review of the legal framework, discussions on the implementation of the Community Land Act and authors interaction with communities through workshops. It concludes that while the Act promises greater protection for commons, implementation challenges continue to hinder realization of the promised rights and benefits. Procedural uncertainty in the implementation process, tension in the formalization of customary tenure and institutional overlaps are identified as key bottlenecks in the process.  The paper argues that laws should be aligned to community systems and practices to achieve best results.


Kenya, Community land, African commons, Constitution, customary tenure

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.48346/IMIST.PRSM/ajlp-gs.v4i2.22915