The Kenyan Government has passed laws that routinely undervalue pastoralists’ land and undermine pastoralism as a system of production and source of livelihood in the drylands. In his article “The unjust valuation of pastoralists’ land in Kenya”, published online in The Elephant on 2 October 2021, Jarso Mokku argues that the substantial contributions of pastoralists to the national economy are not recognised by the Government because of outdated or lacking information about these contributions. Pastoralists therefore rarely obtain just compensation for land acquired compulsorily by the State.
The Land Value Index Laws Amendment Bill passed in 2019 by the Government has entrenched unfair government policies and practices that include zero-rating the value of pastureland. The Government’s undervaluing of land used by pastoralists contributes to higher poverty rates and environmental degradation in the drylands.
The author describes customary land use and governance by pastoralists in Turkana, Marsabit and Isiolo Counties, which are not taken into account in Government landuse planning and valuation. He calls for a review of community land valuation for the purposes of compulsory land acquisition by the Kenyan Government. The statutes that guide land valuation must adopt new guidelines that comply with constitutional requirements and legal and policy changes.