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Kenya’s Maasai People’s Fight For Land Rights Is Just


The International Indigenous People’s Movement for
Self-Determination and Liberation (International IPMSDL)
unites with the Maasai Indigenous Peoples of Kenya and their
allies and advocates in condemning the recent and
longstanding attacks on the Maasai people’s right to their
ancestral lands in Kitet community.

We condemn Kedong
Ranch Limited, among whose stakeholders are relatives of
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, for carrying out these
attacks and we are calling on the Kenyan High Court and
Kenyan government to take the side of the Maasai against the
corporation.

Kedong Ranch Limited has acquired lease
to 75,000 acres of Maasai land since the 1970s without the
Indigenous People’s Free, Prior and Informed Consent
(FPIC), mandated by the United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and international
law.

In recent years, the company has been digging
deep trenches in the land, which endanger the livelihood and
culture of the Maasai, a pastoralist people. The trenches
have caused the death of a nine-year old Maasai girl in
2020. They have also caused the death of Maasai livestock,
precious to the people’s livelihood and way of
life.

In response to their opposition to the digging
of trenches, five members of the Maasai community have been
arrested and charged by the police, one was beaten heavily.
While they were released on bail, the cases against them are
ongoing.

These are on top of other violations of the
Maasai’s right to their ancestral lands. Involved in these
violations are the creation of the Olkaria IV and V
geothermal plants and of a 1,000-acre dry port. There is
also the allotment of 1,000-acre of lands each to Rwanda,
Uganda and South Sudan for the construction of dry ports. In
all of these, the Maasai are again being denied the right to
FPIC to the use of their lands.

As is often the case
with corporations trying to steal indigenous lands, Kedong
Ranch Limited has sought to divide the Maasai community,
take advantage of their lack of knowledge about recent laws,
and bribe sections of the community to make their robbery
appear legitimate. The legality of its moves has been
immediately put into question by the community.

In
order to assert their right to their ancestral lands, the
Maasai have filed cases against Kedong Ranch Limited and
government agencies. The Maasai demand recognition of their
collective land rights and the invalidation of the lease
acquired by Kedong Ranch Limited. Through all these, the
threats and harassments against the Maasai people have
continued.

The IPMSDL condemns all these violations of
the Maasai people’s right to their ancestral domains in
Kitet community. The IPMSDL supports the Maasai people’s
immediate and long-term demands in their fight for their
land rights. Land is life, community, identity, and survival
for the Indigenous Peoples of the world.

The IPMSDL is
calling on its member-organizations and other organizations
of Indigenous Peoples to express solidarity with the Maasai
people. The Maasai people are not alone; the fights of the
Indigenous Peoples of the world for their ancestral lands
are interconnected. We are all fighting the theft of our
lands by big local and monopoly capitalists often in cahoots
with political elites in government who use the police, the
military and the courts against Indigenous
Peoples.

The IPMSDL supports the IP struggle against
zombie neoliberalism that continues to wreak havoc on, and
pose dangers to, the lives of IP even amidst the Covid-19
pandemic.

© Scoop Media

 



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