Scramble for land in Kajiado county

02 Apr 2015 | by Douglas Okeyo
Scramble for land in Kajiado county

Recently I watched in amazement, a news clip in one of the media stations, about the broke land millionaires and the scramble for Kajiado County

Recently I watched in amazement, a news clip in one of the media stations, about the broke land millionaires and the scramble for Kajiado County. This clip brought to light quite a myriad of issues as far as land transactions are concerned. Of great importance to me is the issue of wealth management. We live in a society that is keen on growing the little resources that are available in order to maximize it and get the most out of it. In the same society, trade happens on a ‘willing seller willing buyer’ basis. This normally is the case in most transactions, be it in land, housing, and even farm produce. I found it rather awkward that the sellers of the land in the said clip were being treated as victims who had been duped into selling their land by unscrupulous buyers. Actually, the reporter put it as follows; ‘they were duped to sell their land only to buy vehicles that serve them for a short time period’. Land is considered an asset by most individuals, both elite and illiterate alike. Both of these parties know that land is a scarce resource and so they all seek to make the best out of it. Being an asset, land can be used as security for loans and other financial instruments and in such a case, it is purely up to the borrower to put the borrowed amount into some good use that will multiply the amount such that 

at the end of the set timelines, he will be able to pay back the loan with interest and still have some money from the investment. Land can also be sold depending on what need the seller needs to meet. The buyer may not be in a position to fully understand the seller’s financial predisposition. This is where the willing buyer willing seller situation is seen practically because I don’t have to go through the details of your need as the seller for me to decide whether I am buying the land or not. Back in the mid 90s, I heard a case of a gentleman who had a pick-up truck. One day as he was driving around Kajiado county looking for a plot for sale, he came across this Maasai elder who was so impressed by his truck that he told him to give him that truck in exchange for quite some acreage of land, a proposal which this gentlemen agreed and he gladly used public means back to his home in the evening. He had secured a deal worth hundreds of acres. On such a matter as this, it is misleading to put it that the land sellers were being duped by the land buyers to sell their land. They willingly sold their land and their need at that point was to get the vehicles that would make their lives easier as far as fetching water was concerned. For as long as real estate remains 

a pillar in the development of the country’s economy, sale and purchase of land will remain. When a developer sells an estate, they sell it together with the land on which it stands. That brings me to my earlier point on wealth management that has to be enshrined not only in the schools of business but also in the hearts of the individuals who seek to trade in land. It is to this end that the Kajiado County has come up with rules that seek to regulate land transactions within the county to the benefit of the locals. This does not mean that the locals are banned from selling land. Indeed they are allowed to sell but they need to know the ramifications of their actions. As opposed to the earlier laws where the locals could sell their land without the consent of their spouses and children, it is now a requirement that all the stake holders must assent to the transaction. This removes the possibility of the stake holders coming back later to claim ‘their’ land. Also with the new laws, an illiterate seller will have to seek the services of a literate individual in the land transactions. This enables the sellers to be aware of what they are signing up for. It gives them full knowledge on the consequences of their intentions. Further to this, the Maasai culture is one that needs to be emulated in as far as land 

conservation is concerned. They had set aside large tracts of land that belong to the community. This land is not to be sold and any developer who shows interest in these tracts usually end up facing the wrath of the community. The same has been the case in Kwale as well as several areas within the country where minerals have been discovered. This mineral need to be extracted, but this process has to benefit the locals as well. A win-win situation must be reached between the locals and the developer or the government. That having been said, there is serious need to educate individuals on how to maximize land. Uses of land are not limited to real estate. The modernity trap, where land is sold so as to obtain pleasure and party with the high and the mighty for a season, should be discouraged. Responsible land disposal, bearing in mind the young generations, is key in integrating the various communities living amongst each other because areas within the Nairobi metropolis are fast becoming cosmopolitan hence the need to embrace each other’s cultures and ways. For any form of development to occur, we must put to good use the land at our disposal for the benefit of the community, county and country at large.

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