Land, family and child support conflicts most common in Kenya

by MMC
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Land, family and child support conflicts most common in Kenya


Police arrive to stop members of the Sirikwa group squatters from building structures on a farm they were in dispute with the late Mark Too in Uasin Gishu County on November 19, 2022, after the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling in favor of the squatters to grab 25,000 acres of land. PICTURES | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

Land, marital and close family conflicts, child custody and alimony constitute the majority (87%) of conflicts in Kenyan communities.

At 30 percent, land represents the largest percentage of disputed issues in Kenya, followed by 23 percent involving the partner and spouse, and 13 percent were related to children, according to a Kenyan study conducted by the Katiba Institute and the University of Nairobi, under the Community Justice Research (CBJR) project.

Other types of disputes involve authorities, police actions, physical attacks and theft.

The three largest categories suggest their importance for family and community relationships, although, as the report points out, more understanding of why people act on some disputes and less on others is needed to understand the true landscape of conflict behaviors .

According to Shelmith Maranya, a lawyer at the High Court of Kenya and also litigation and dispute resolution associate at HMS Advocates, these findings are consistent with the emotional nature of the land issue in Kenya.

“This is mainly because 80 percent of the Kenyan population lives in rural areas and earns their livelihood from the land. Its scarcity and existing economic inequalities mitigate competition for land, making it the cause of most family conflict and violence. Ethnic clashes, colonialism, corruption, fraud, unethical professionals involved in land deals and poor land policies and laws have played a significant role in causing these conflicts,” he said. she told BDLife.

She said the law, over the years, has played a major role in reducing and resolving land disputes. The 2010 Constitution, for example, influenced the adoption of a new land tenure system, as reflected in the Land Act 2012, the Land Registration Act 2012 and the Sectional Properties Act 2020.

These notably introduced the concepts of spousal consent, conclusiveness of the land register and sectional ownership, among other new concepts that resolved long-standing land issues.

The study, titled Exploring Community Services, Costs and Benefits of People-Centered Justice, aimed to understand a range of formal and informal access to justice initiatives and institutions by studying a number of of these initiatives and institutions.

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