Kenya-Somali clans file historical injustices with NLC

Isaak and Harti community land management committee Interim Chair Said Ali Salad (left) submits a historical land injustice complaint to Isiolo County NLC Coordinator Paul Kasimbu in Isiolo town on September 21, 2021.

By Daily Nation

The Isaak and Harti clans of the Somali community living in Isiolo on Tuesday submitted to the National Land Commission (NLC) a historical land injustice complaint.

The clans are seeking to have thousands of acres of land under the leasehold area revert to the community. They said the displacement from their ancestral lands during the colonial time had subjected them to a lot of suffering and marginalisation as their people could not develop properties due to restrictions on the use of the land.

The land being claimed covers parts of Isiolo municipality, holding grounds under the Livestock Market Division and areas surrounding the National Reserves including the Sarova Shaba that all occupy 1.068 square miles of land in Isiolo.

After presenting a copy of the complaint at the Isiolo NLC office, the residents said they were not opposed to any developments on the leasehold areas but demanded to possess the remaining land.

“From our land, game reserves were allocated leaving sizable chunks of land, which should revert to the Isaak & Harti community,” the community’s land management committee interim Chairperson Said Ali said.

Being a leasehold area, Mr Ali said, the Trust Land Act that was used by the county council of Isiolo to allocate land to other communities in the area was unacceptable.

Historical land injustice

The committee Vice-Chair Jamal Abdi said it was unfortunate that members of the community were living as squatters in their county and appealed to the commission to bring the injustices to an end.

“Majority of the people have sought asylum in neighbouring and far counties due to the injustice and we hope NLC will ensure our rights are safeguarded and justice to all the affected families,” said Mr Abdi.

The Isaak and Harti complaint brings to eight, the number of historical land injustice submissions from the county made in the last month. Tuesday was the deadline for such submissions.

Isiolo County NLC Coordinator Paul Kasimbu said a majority of the other complaints submitted earlier were against the government for dispossessing communities and allocating portions of their land to various activities among them military camps and livestock holding grounds.

“We will combine all the claims submitted and forward them to Nairobi so that investigations into the issues raised start,” said Mr Kasimbu. Burat ward residents last week complained that following hiving off thousands of acres of their land for government engagements, residents were barred from farming and grazing on the land threatening their livelihoods.

Led by elders Aleta Chegeu and Consolata Lomilio from Lotiki and Kakili villages, the locals said addressing the injustices will enable the residents to get land ownership documents and develop their properties without fear of being displaced.

Counties in Northern Kenya have been reluctant to file historical land injustice claims with high illiteracy and lack of information blamed for the apathy.