Public Land in Kenya



 Ownership. Use. Management





Since the beginning of time man has viewed land as a resource and dwelling place. Land ownership was primarily communal although boundaries were based on the family or clan units as these were the foundations of the community

Public Land under Colonialism

Although the pioneer missionaries were generally welcomed by local communities and allocated land on which to dwell and build their missions, the career settler did eventually drive away the indigenous populations from ancestral land often using force and coercion. Later, the colonial administrations established British laws of land ownership and use, combined with loose communal laws

Public Land under the Old Constitution 

Once Kenya gained political independence from Britain, weak Public Land policies and an imperial presidency gave rise to skewed land ownership structures that concentrated and assigned rich agricultural land in the hands of the regional political elite leading to disparities, faulty distribution and marginalisation in land ownership.

Public Land under the New Constitution

The promises of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 are to rationalise Public Land ownership, use and access, as well as through the new National Land Commission, investigate historical injustices on the same with a view to correcting any inconsistencies and recommend reparations to victims. Devolved County governments will hold all Public Land in trust on behalf of the people of Kenya.

 *click on the links on the table for more on Public Land.



1. The Constitution of Kenya, 2010. National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney General.

2. The Constitution of Kenya aka Kenya Subsidiary Legislation, 1963. Government of Kenya.

3. The Constitution of Kenya Revised edition 2008 (2001). National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney General.


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