Beware Of Licenced Land Grambers.
Contrary to expectations, large-scale investments are becoming the bane of Africa’s socioeconomic fabric. As tracts of land are acquired, conflicts are arising, small-scale farmers and pastoralists are displaced, environmental degradation is taking its toll on communities, water is becoming scarce, poverty is deepening and political instabilities are growing.>>>
The situation is happening because large-scale land deals are inked secretively, hence land grabbing.
In Kenya, for example, thousands of villagers in Turkana District in the larger Rift Valley Province whose thousands of hectares of prime pastoralist land was taken by Tullow Oil plc, are crying foul. A report by Action Aid International, which is campaigning for a change of the European Union’s renewable energy policy, has highlighted tangible plight of the villagers.
The Turkana land saga is a replica of scenes unfolding in other parts of Africa. It is important to remember that between 10 and 20 million Africans were shipped overseas in four centuries of transatlantic slave trade. When it was banned, the continent was colonized. Lives of many Africans were lost in the struggle for independence. However, much as Africa welcomes investors, foreigners should be cautiously welcomed lest the continent is recolonized via the back door.
A network of farmers in Taita Taveta, are up in arms protesting the manner in which Kenyan small-scale farmers have been discriminated against in land allocations, with foreigners being the blue-eyed boys of the government.
The authorities must exercise utmost care in land allocations to grabbers and speculators masquerading as big investors lest locals are rendered squatters in their own ancestral land.