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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Grounding Pastoralists: Law, Politics, and Dispossession in East Africa
Author:Galaty, John G.ISNI
Year:1999
Periodical:Nomadic Peoples
Volume:3
Issue:2
Pages:56-73
Language:English
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Maasai
pastoralists
large farms
customary law
land law
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Politics and Government
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Ethnic and Race Relations
External link:https://doi.org/10.3167/082279499782409334
Abstract:This paper explores the paradoxical situation in which law serves not to secure land for its occupants, but to dispossess them. With respect to ploys of property claims currently in play in the Maasai Kajiado District, Kenya, the paper examines the association between law and politics: the political use of law to gain land, and the expression in the interpretation and use of law of political relations. The cases discussed involved corruption of the process of subdivision of group ranches. In each instance, a legally constituted committee was involved, that in principle should serve as trustee for the entire ranch community. The committees in question refused to abide by the legal principles set forth for subdivision of group holdings, that it should be done in equal portions. What is actually at stake is the inability, or unwillingness, of the Kenyan government to secure customary land rights through existing legal procedures. Increasingly, large tracts of land in Maasai districts are falling into the hands of non-Maasai. This affects the long-term economic security of individual Maasai families, threatens the resource base for the viable practice of extensive animal husbandry, and undermines the cultural sustenance of an indigenous culture. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French and Spanish.
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