Without access to documents, land debate will get nowhere

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu addressing a press conference on August 1, 2014 at Ardhi House, Nairobi. Land registry files will tell us about grabbing. But without access to records, we will never comprehend why Kenya’s history looks the way it does. PHOTO | JENNIFER MUIRURI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • While I’ve been reading Mboya’s correspondence from the 1950s and 1960s - highlights include letters from a young Amos Wako and youthful Robert Mugabe - a friend has had a different experience in Kenya itself.
  • If the government is serious about instigating a debate, it should locate and open up its own records on the politics of settlement.
  • We lack the detail of the political calculations and discussions which led to the designation of who should have access to which settlement schemes.

The announcement that the land policy dating back to 1963 will be opened up to scrutiny demands debate. But putting to one side doubts about the government’s commitment to such a promise, it must be recognised that we lack access to evidence needed for such a discussion.

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