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The colonial context and historical foundations of ainabkoi settlement scheme in eldoret East in the North rift region of Kenya

Author: 
Boit Kipchirchir John
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Ainabkoi settlement scheme, like other million-acre schemes in Kenya, was started in 1960-1967, to settle people from all parts of Rift valley. The programme was supposed to implement planned socio-economic changes, and was expected to work according to set out guidelines. However, most of these guidelines were set along the colonial agenda for land in Kenya. This paper seeks to analyse the colonial context that informed the historical foundations of Ainabkoi Settlement Scheme in Eldoret East in the North Rift region of Kenya. The data collection methods employed in the study included oral interviews, secondary data and archival sources. The analysis of data was done using both qualitative and quantitative methods, and the findings were interpreted against the framework provided by Rural Development Approach. The study revealed that the colonial conquest of Kenya after 1895 not only established alien political domination, but it also created conditions conducive to the penetration of capitalism in a more fundamental and thoroughgoing manner than in the nineteenth century. Moreover, the Kenya land regulations of 1897 empowered the government to issue new rights over unoccupied land provided they would not be prejudicial to nature interests, but only by means of certificates of occupancy and only for a period of up to twenty one years, although this period was later extended. To encourage such settlement, however, it was necessary to offer better security of tenure for settlers. To this end, the government pursued a lenient land policy designating areas to be reserved for European settlement. Nevertheless, in setting aside land for European settlements, the colonial government ignored the indigenous land claims and rights. The land policies had great repercussion on African land tenure and settlement pattern and the development and organization of agriculture. Land relations following the displacement of pastoral and agricultural communities were accompanied by many problems of human adaptation. These included famine and livestock diseases and plagues. In the case of agricultural communities, displacement led to widespread landlessness and discontent among the rural peasantry. The establishment of fixed ethnic boundaries badly disturbed the equilibrium between patterns of land use and availability of land. The consequences were enormous, a very rapid deterioration of land due to fragmentation, overstocking and soil erosion.

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