This was sent to me by a very good friend, she’s known me for years and been here to visit – she came across this article on Facebook and asked me if it was accurate……
NO it isn’t accurate and I have had Peter Hetz of Laikipia Wildlife Forum reply to each point as LWF work within Laikipia all its inhabitants and can give the ACCURATE picture. Please scroll down ……have also added a note from Sean on Sosian Ranch too……….
LAIKIPIA ISSUES – Today I learnt a few things
1. 15 ranchers own 51% of Laikipia County and I’m talking land. The rest of the population share the rest
2. Laikipia is originally/historically Maasai land. Today the Maasai are left with 10% of the land. A percentage they share with the Samburu who encroached from the north
3. The ranchers charge Kshs35/cow per day as grazing fees. Maasai folks there own over 200 cows on average.
4. The ranchers use less than 50% of the land they own, the rest is fallow but privately owned.
Now our Government is again dealing with the perennial problem of skirmishes in this region by deploying para military apparatus to enforce law and order and restore normalcy as they call it. A few questions thus arise:
1. What is normalcy from the government perspective?
2. Are their solutions long time?
3. Is their attitude politically influenced rather than anything else?
A lot of research has been done in this area. The problem is known, the solutions are known and they are not what the government is providing. Let me share,
1. The ranchers own private land. Thats a given but they don’t use it all. The issue for the Maasai is not to take over these private lands but to find grazing land for their animals. Why can’t the government prevail on the ranchers to open up the sections they don’t use to the Maasai’s to graze on? They could actually paddock off grazing areas. They don’t have to charge them the 35 Bob. The Maasai can’t afford it
2. Most of these ranchers are foreigners so there comes into play the sentiment of ‘these whites are here to take over our land thus a rebellion. The locals need to be educated on the Land Act effectively but with a view of allaying their concerns as well.
3. In bringing in the GSU, Police and the KDF the government is using its power to quell down tribal sentiments as opposed to sorting out the underlying factors that bring them to play. Who is the government protecting? The locals see the government as valuing the ranchers as opposed to them. It is known that the ranchers can donate to government through their foreign networks in more ways than one. The local pastrolists have no political value because they will be out looking for grass and water for their animals on voting day anyway. Their say is therefore diminished but we forget that they are just as Kenyan as the rest of us
From Peter Hetz – Laikipia Wildlife Forum
First, please know that these facts are being pushed by a select few with an agenda based on a 2011 report that was published with eroneous figures.
Second, please find the LFA report compiled by the LWF that puts the correct figures forward. Please feel free to share this widely. 37% of Laikipia is under large-scale ranching with owners of both African and European origin.
Third, at present, there are over 8,500 Laikipia community cows being kept, watered and fed on Private ranch lands. All the group ranch cows total about 57,000, so more slightly more than 1/6 of community cows are being supported for in this drought. These are community breeding stock, with the intention of helping neighbours get back on their feet after the end of the drought.
Fourth – There are about 35,000 cows on the “large ranches” of Laikipia.
Fifth – Pastoralist occupied lands in Laikipia – both group ranches and those living on “abandoned” lands totals just over 32% of the landscape of Laikipia. These areas have been hit by the triple-whammy of drought, invasive plant species, and overgrazing. The people on these lands are our neighbours, and have been uable to defend themselves against outsiders who depleted any grass reserves they had on their lands last year.
Sixth – Almost every large ranch has some form of “neighborhood” grazing agreement in place. It’s true that these are not transparent or similar, but there already is in place an effort to publicize and standardize these types of agreements both annually, and seasonally.
Finally – the Community Land Act, and the Amended Land Act are among the most important tools we have to address land tenure security.
……..If anyone would like a copy of the mentioned LFA report please use the contact form or comment leaving your email. Thanks Maria