The Right to Land and Housing and Community Outreach Program
The Housing Coalition – the power of collectivism
The need for synergy and a common voice for the housing sector grew bigger. The need to restart and re-energise the discussions around the pending Evictions and Resettlement Procedures Bill hat has since been incorporated into the Land Laws Amendment Bill 2015 and the National Slum Upgrading and Prevention Policy which has since been passed by the National Government cabinet became more pressing.Tremendous efforts placed on the development of the legislations finally bore fruits. This was against the backdrop of informal settlements improvement programs under the current regime that was not embedded in any policy framework. The voice of the coalition still remains important as we move to the implementation stage that calls for more robust engagements. Kenya is urbanizing rapidly and well-coordinated efforts to control proliferation of informal settlements remain of importance.
the reflection meetings continues to reenergize the engagements of the coalition members and to this end
Soweto Zone “A” informal settlement upgrading program has ended and 822 units shared out to intended beneficiaries albeit engagement hiccups witnessed. Work still remains in this front.
Development and Human rights – Re-marginalizing through mega projects?
The season of mega projects is here with us. The massive infrastructural expansion both by the private sector and the government has triggered the debate over its impact on the welfare of the ordinary Kenyan. The major cities are witnessing urban renewal and regeneration programs for instance Mombasa and Kisumu cities. These projects involve major infrastructural developments that intend to position the cities and will in great way affect the faces of the cities. Further to this, the role of business has been given emphasis by the Kenyan government through the Vision2030. There have been numerous consultations regarding business and human rights that the organization has joined, for instance the discussions around the Mining Bill. However, gaps still persists in the institutionalization of the UN guiding principles on Business and Human Rights. This calls for more work to enhance community company relationships to ensure that projects are mutually beneficial. In this context also, it echoes the need of such mega projects to grow with the masses. The facets of engagements must be taken robustly to influence the directions these projects are taking.
Land grabbing and illegal evictions–The people fight back
In response to the alarming rise in land grabbing and illegal evictions in Isiolo County, Hakijamii led the local residents in preparing and presenting a petition to the National Assembly. The Speaker received the petition and committed it to the Departmental Committee on Lands, giving them 60 days from November 17th 2015 to investigate and report on the matter. The communities in Isiolo were prepared on the best practices on how to deal with illegal evictions. These evictions have been blamed on the jostling around the proposed mega projects and also
boundary conflicts pitting different communities with different ways of life. Cases of evictions are on the rise nationally and are a major concern with the dispensation of the new order and particularly Article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya.
Pushing forward the land reform process
Hakijamii also engaged extensively with policy makers and legislators in the process of facilitating land reform, particularly through legislative reform. Hakijamii facilitated the analysis of the proposed Community Land Bill and Land Laws (Amendment) Bill by community groups from Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu and unified the sentiments into a joint memoranda submitted to the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Lands. Following up on this, Hakijamii also made presentations to the Departmental Committee of National Assembly on Lands and the issues raised were captured in the final Committee Report, the Community Land Bill will be moving to the senate for more deliberations and Hakijamii is still looking forward to more engagements with the Senate. We intend to continue pushing for the inclusion of air-tight protections against evictions and resettlement, and a comprehensive governance framework for community land. In light of the sensitive nature of the land question in Kenya, particularly with its political connection, it became apparent that there is a need to be a continuous source of accurate information for the public on the details of the land reform efforts. This has seen Hakijamii engage extensively in the media, including television, radio and utilizing social media as well.
Resilient organized social movements
The spirit of the social movements in agitating for change and social justice remains resilient. The organized movements have demonstrated growth in capacity and continue to engage those in authority more robustly. This growth in capacity is attributed to the continuous capacity building and the dialogue forums that have been supported by Hakijamii. This gives an opportunity for the network to expand, share their expertise and institutionalize what they have gained. Hakijamii still have the dreams and aspi
rations of building Human Rights Centers around the networks of the capacitated social movements for sustainability and continuous engagements in advocacy work.