A form of robbery by the powerful through deprivation of rights on properties belonging to indigenous people or their ancestors, land grabbing in Africa took enormous and decisive rip with colonization and significant role of the new African elites which, after the period of independence, came to preside over the destiny of their respective countries on the continent.
In countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, etc land grabbing has almost transformed negatively and irreversibly the lives of millions of Africans who have become destitute in many places. Being a continental problem, it has manifested itself – and continues to be – differently according to local and past history, but also because of involved interests.
Amma Fosuah Poku, an African human rights activist based in London, describes in the following paragraphs the case of the Lang’ata Primary School in Nairobi Kenya.
In Kenya pupils and parents are resisting land grabbing of school land. On 19th January 2015 pupils and parents of Lang’ata primary school protested about the land grabbing of their school land. The response of the state was to send in armed police who tear gassed the people protesting.
Ten days later on 29th January 2015 parents of children who attend St. Catherine primary school took their 20 year land grab protest to the government cabinet secretary for land, housing and urban development who assured them the land would be returned to the school.
Of course land grabbing is not a new phenomenon, 26th February 2015 marks 130 years since the end of the Berlin conference, the biggest land grab in the history of humankind, the colonisation of Africa.
As African people resisted colonial land grabbing, all present day attempts to grab land which rightfully belongs to the people (whether by an African elite class, super rich foreigners, multinational companies or foreign countries) must be resisted.
We must always remember that, despite the challenges, there is power in people uniting to pursue freedom, fairness and justice.
Below, the first of two video reports which I’m sharing courtesy of Chukwunyere Kamalu (posted the video link below in Stop FIIA Facebook group) shows the police response to pupils and parents protesting at Lang’ata primary school. Irungu Houghton, who is know to some of us, can be seen being manhandled by the police towards the end of the clip:
The second video is of parents of pupils of St. Catherines Primary school protesting:
Pupils teargassed as wall at Lang’ata school demolished