Written by John Kabaka
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An aerial view of land fragmentation in Bungoma County that has risen through subdivision. [PHOTO | Westf Fm | File]
Kenyans should consider reviewing negative traditional aspects on land ownership and inheritance in view of population explosion in parts of the country as the government initiates a new strategic spatial plan to steer the country through the emerging challenges.
A team of experts from the ministry of National Planning and Vision 2030 also challenged Kenyans to consider the country’s northern frontier districts, viewed over years as wastelands, for human settlement and development to ease pressure on resources in the densely populated western parts of the country.
Titus Musungu a rural and urban planner at the ministry said population explosion and decreasing land holdings in Western, Nyanza, Central and parts of the Rift valley was a wakeup call to the government to identify new frontiers to absorb the rising population, adding Northern Kenya, which forms over 60 percent of the country should be an ideal for population transfer.
Addressing a national spatial plan sensitization workshop at a Kakamega hotel, Musungu said it was time communities in the densely populated areas of western Kenya to think about alternative forms of inheritance outside ancestral land as the law would no longer allow for more sub-division beyond an eighth of an acre.
“Soon you will realize that most residents of Vihiga would not be able to sub-divide their portions of land further for inheritance by sons because the population density and agricultural land laws forbid fragmentation beyond the eighth-acre plot,” he said.
He went on, ‘this calls for proper planning and hence this workshop is meant to involve the communities in the planning aspect of our urban areas. We have not had such a plan in the past and the effect is that our urban areas are many miles away in development compared to our rural area.”
A coordinator of the Kakamega team Ms Joyce Misoi said strategic planning was necessary to create national geographical space adding the exercise would focus at seven themes; infrastructure, governance, conservation, natural resource, tourism, agriculture and human settlement.
She said the exercise would endeavor to give a broad strategy on planning at the lower level so as to provide space and vision on planning at the national level.
“We want to create more urban areas and give them specific roles so that they can accommodate specific population to ease pressure on agricultural land,” Said physical planner Lucy Simiyu.
She said apart from interaction with leaders from the communities, the team will co-opt expert advice on education, agriculture.
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