Wachira is a PhD Student Researcher at the Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi. His PhD research is funded by Danida, focusing on the intersection between large scale land investments and climate change Adaptation Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya. Jackson holds a Masters Degree in Disasters, Adaptation and Development from King’s College London and an undergraduate degree in Disaster Management and International Diplomacy (first-class honours) from
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya. Before embarking on his PhD, Jackson worked as a humanitarian and development worker in Kenya and other parts of East Africa.
Spaces of Dispossession
Historical interconnectedness between Large Scale Land Acquisitions and Land Governance Regimes in the Upper Lowland Ewaso region of Kenya
The phenomenon that is contemporary large scale land acquisition (LSLA), whereby predominantly resource rich actors and organizations in developed or emerging economies acquire extensive land in collaboration or alongside governments, elitists organizations and individuals in developing countries is constantly evolving. Scholarship on the phenomenon acknowledges that even though contemporary land rush is to be associated with unique actors and drivers, the phenomenon has predecessors in historical forms of land alienation en masse. This relationship has however been approached analogically or remains conceptual in many studies. Using the Upper Lowland Ewaso region of Kenya as a case, this paper investigates the historical nature of LSLA in Kenya over the period spanning the colonial era to the current decade. In this analysis, we show that even though LSLA increasingly take different shapes, actors involved in driving the processes that result in LSLA disrespect temporal limitations, allowing LSLAs to morph with or facilitate the evolution of land governance regimes that entrench their existence. Further, we establish empirical interrelat ionships between diverse typologies of LSLA over shared ecological space and prolonged temporal scales. For analysis, we draw on Accumulation by Dispossession Theory, exploring processes of privatization, financialization, manipulation of crises and state redistributions that transcends recent climate and financial crises and specific LSLA deals. Overall, we observe an interconnectedness of diverse typologies of LSLAs over time and space in ways that weaken prevailing land governance regimes to give way to new faces of LSLA thus continuous dispossession of pastoralists’ land and critical land-based resources.
Affiliation: University of Nairobi, Kenya