One hundred years of denial

Thursday 30 September 2004

-- (Credit: REUTERS)There are some wounds that time cannot heal. Hundred years after being driven from their land by British colonialists, Masai tribes in Kenya's Laikipia district are still demanding the return of their ancestral territory. Their campaign pits them against a handful of white farmers whose families have created vast ranches on the land after the expulsion of the tribes. "The Masai were conned into signing these treaties," says Simon ole Kaparo, a local ngo official and one of the young Masais leading the campaign. "We have an obligation to correct this wrong." Matters came to a head when police shot and killed a 70-year-old man and wounded four other Masai grazing cattle on private land they said was theirs. The Kenya government, which inherited the Anglo-Masai treaties after independence, says the land claim is a Masai myth. Lands and housing minister Amos Kimunya said that the government did not recognise the agreement struck between a Masai Laibon (medicine man) and the British government. Kimunya said the government would decide on the expired leases, taking into account recommendations received during the land reform process.

Move from news to views and get in-depth reports on issues that matter to you, every fortnight.
Subscribe now »

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

Scroll To Top