Ours by right

Kameri-Mbote, Patricia
Odote, Collins
Musembi, Celestine
Kamande, Wilson
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Strathmore University Press
This is a pioneering study on a critical, yet infinitely complex subject, in the setting of legal and constitutional rights in an African country: the subject of property rights. If the property-rights label appears clear-cut enough, and readily lends itself to market-oriented criteria of assessment, particularly in the industrialized world, it is quite the reverse in Africa and , especially, where land is concerned. It is clear from the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 which accords land a full Chapter', that this subject bears an elevated status over and above the Bill-of-Rights provisions on "protection of right to property?" . Clearly, the Kenyan people in their constituent power, have perceived land as more than just property which readily converts to market value - with relevant injuries being recompensed conclusively with awards of damages. The Constitution sets out governing principles on land policy. Finite, yet socially, economically and culturally vital , land in Kenya has merited the declaration that it "shall be held, used and managed in a manner that is equitable, efficient, productive and sustainable>." Public land , community land and private land are the three categorizations made in the Constitution; and community land, a core sphere of the instant work, refers to land attached, historically, socially and for beneficial use, to a distinct population group: an ethnic community, a cultural community, or some other social interest-group. The Constitution, in its solicitude for social-group welfare, lays a foundation for policy, programming and juristic openings towards practical solutions. That a governance question so fundamental in a progressive constitutional order merits legal attention, is the obvious justification for the instant publication. The work devotes its attention to : community interests and the land question; Kenya's experiences in relation to community land; and comparative experiences drawn from further a field. The authors have drawn a notable distinction between land as a basis of defined private rights , as known in ordinary practice of law - on the one hand - and , on the other hand, land as a "bundle of rights", of composite dimensions. In the latter case , as the authors remark, "land is critical to the economic, social and cultural development" ; land is "linked to sovereignty" ; "land is a politically sensitive issue [and is] culturally complex"; " [land] has spiritual and religious . dimensions in communities that perceive it as a host of the spirit of the community and the residence of the deity". From such a foundation, the authors have then considered the important question as to whether the bundle of entitlements centred on land should, as in the conventional property-rights system, vest in one person exclusively.
Law, Politics, Community property, Kenya