In December 2012, the Land Development & Governance Institute embarked on a nation-wide Land, Peace and Election campaign aptly dubbed ‘Ardhi na Amani Kenya’. The forums began in Western Kenya, covering Kisumu (Nyanza Region) and Kakamega (Western Region) counties before setting out to Mombasa (Coast Region), Kajiado (Lower Rift Valley Region), Thika (Kiambu) and Eldoret (North Rift Region) in January 2013. February 2013 saw the Institute visit Kitui County (Lower Eastern Region) before heading out to Isiolo (Upper Eastern Region) and finally bringing the forums to a close in Nyeri County (Central Region).
The “Ardhi na Amani Kenya” initiative was aimed to promote unity and peaceful co-existence of individuals and communities in Kenya. It was borne out of the fact that land is central to Kenya’s development and access to and use of it is critical to livelihoods
These forums brought together various opinion and community leaders representing the provincial administration, local authorities, line ministries, community groups, peace committees, religious organizations, practicing professionals, women groups, youth groups, civil society organizations, business organizations, SACCO societies, farmers organizations, Jua Kali associations, academic institutions and the media.
The forums rallied Kenyans to shun violence and refuse to be incited or manipulated into violence on account of land issues before, during and after the next general elections. Any pertinent issues will be resolved through peaceful legal mechanisms as provided for in the national land policy, the constitution and the new land laws. The forums also exalted leaders to elect credible leaders in the 4th March vote who to be assured of strong good leadership, effective and sustainable management and protection of land at national and county level.
The forums captured region-specific issues including: gender discrimination in land ownership (Western Kenya region), historical land injustices, lack of titles and the inherent squatter problem (Coast region) land tenure, land use and the protection of community land. Other issues that emerged included mining interests and benefits to communities (Lower Eastern region) as well as new investments driven by emerging Resort cities (Upper Eastern region).