Budgeting for Land Reform in Kenya: Putting your money where your land is

Jun 12, 2012

Post prepared by Jason Lakin of the International Budget Partnership

UPDATE. Read the full report here and a summary of the report here.

Kenya’s history as an independent country is littered with plans and policies that were intended to right historical wrongs related to land. Few of these have been fully implemented, or made a lasting impact. One recent example is the Ndung’u Commission report of 2005, which began to collect dust almost as soon as it was completed. The problem in Kenya has never been one of knowing about the problem or drafting plans to deal with it, but of creating a political coalition in favor of reforms and putting resources behind these.

In light of this, and in light of the radical potential of the 2009 National Land Policy, the 2010 Constitution, and the new land legislation that has followed from both of these, the International Budget Partnership and Hakijamii began a discussion several months ago about whether Kenya was at a turning point in the struggle for land reform.

We felt that the country had moved very far down the road of actually starting to implement at least some important land reforms on paper. The risk was that these pieces of paper would yield very little if they were not backed up with financing. Yet the debate over land reform in the past year has not looked carefully at the resource requirements for reform, or whether government has seriously endeavored to martial those resources.

On Wednesday, June 13, we will launch a joint study, “Budgeting for Land Reforms: Ensuring People’s Participation,” in Nairobi.  The report assesses financial management in the lands sector in recent years, and looks at whether the government has taken seriously the cost of land reform in the 2012/13 budget, and over the medium term.  We raise serious concerns about both.

Get a sneak preview here.  We will update this post with the full report next week.

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