LAND ADVOCACY PROJECT (LAP)
Introduction to Land advocacy Project (LAP)
MUHURI has been championing for the land rights of the local people for over a decade. Throughout this period, we have remained steadfast in ensuring that the local communities benefit from land use and ownership. As an organization, we have been vocal in demanding that land use at the Coast considers the interests of the local and indigenous communities. We have been successful in stopping multinational companies from unfairly evicting communities from their ancestral lands, repossessing public land grabbed by politicians and tycoons, stopping senseless and unjust evictions and contributing to the enactment of the current land laws. MUHURI is today one of the leading human rights organisations in the region advocating for the land rights of the local people and ensuring that they are involved in the management and utilization of land resources.
This project seeks to use the Constitution, in particular Chapter 5 on Land and Environment, to ensure land matters at the Coast are addressed and the people get their rights. In particular, the project will seek to address historical injustices which are provided for under the Constitution and the National Land policy with a view to ensuring that perennial land problems are finally looked at critically and resolved. For decades now, government and communities have agreed that there is need to urgently address land inequities at the Coast. However, very little has been done in this direction. The project will seek to do that and in particular will concentrate on land ownership by ensuring that land grabbed from communities reverts back to public ownership and that individuals from Coastal communities are assisted to acquire title deeds to the land they occupy. In undertaking the project, MUHURI will work closely with Lands Ministry and the National Land Commission which is mandated by the Constitution to address the acute land problems at the Coast and Kenya in general.
Goal of the Project
The goal of the project is to build upon past work undertaken by the organization on land rights and consolidate the gains made so far to realize land reforms at the Coast that will see historical injustices addressed and the local communities benefitting from and a new land tenure system. The project will also seek to empower local communities to be at the forefront of championing for their land rights.
Objectives of the Project
The objectives of this project are as follows:
- To promote land ownership by community members from the Coast of Kenya;
- To build the capacity of Coast CSOs and county officials on land issues and community land rights;
- To advocate for the repossession of grabbed public land ; and
- To link up land rights activists at the Coast of Kenya and build a network that is fostered on sharing experiences
Success of the Project
One of the areas that MUHURI succeeded in this project was when it raised the red flag by bringing down a wall that had been erected on public land and forced the Ministry of Lands to move fast and save the largest public beach in Mombasa from the hands of grabbers. The Mombasa Municipal Council, which had allocated the piece of land to private developer, lost custody of the title deed for the Jomo Kenyatta public beach plot which it has been holding on behalf of the public.
Lands Minister James Orengo directed the Commissioner of Lands to revoke the title deed issued to the Mombasa Municipal Council in 1995. A copy of the title is now being held by the Treasury PS in custody of the public.
Mr Orengo told the House the subdivision and allocation was illegal since the council was holding the land on behalf of the public. The Minister acknowledged our work when he asserted in parliament on 10th December 2009, "Someone would have taken all the land was it not for the public outcry."