100 signatures reached
To: Zacharia Mwangi Njeru, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development
A PLEA FOR JUSTICE: SAVE YALA SWAMP FOR FOR YIMBO AND ALEGO COMMUNITIES
Yala Swamp which is the lifeline for Yimbo and Alego communities is about to be allocated to an investor for 66 years. The County Government of Siaya has asked the National Land Commission (NLC) and they have approved. We have gone to the Environment and Land Court to challenge the NLC decision, but the court has turned us away because of lack of authority in law to reverse NLC decisions. We are frustrated because going to court is very costly. President William Ruto proved to know about the matter during his campaigns. The government should therefore provide a long lasting solution to rescue the vulnerable communities from the threats directed to their land rights.
Yala Swamp was reclaimed in 1970 and earmarked for organised resettlement of Yimbo and Alego communities who were displaced by flooding. In 2006, a phase 2 was reclaimed and earmarked for agriculture. The people of Yala Swamp are currently residing in non-arable areas that have failed to produce food even during the long rainy seasons of the year. The whole of Siaya County and it's environs have been relying on food items strenuously produced by people who have been disenfranchised and made hopeless each and every year.
In this tough times and economic meltdown Kenya is facing, our country can only thrive if farming communities are committed to adequate food production, adopting commercialization in agriculture, and promoting value chain actors in every segment to create opportunities for the jobless.
We can use these existing community lands to create havens for sustainable agriculture. Additionally, youth and women who own less than 10% of our lands can be mobilised into community entities and assisted to register portions of community and public lands for economic benefits.
Why is this important?
Yala swamp plays a crucial role in ensuring food security for the Yimbo and Alego communities by providing a source of locally grown food items. This also ensures that these communities achieve food sovereignty. Moreover, the income generated from sustainable agricultural activities will stimulate trade, and support small businesses along the agricultural value chain. This will help sustain the livelihoods of many families, and in turn improve the overall economic well-being of the communities.
The Yala Swamp campaign started in 2003 and up to date, NOTHING has been done. The County government has proven to lack information and understanding of the benefits that Yala Swamp can generate to the residents of Yala and Alego. We believe that NLC is a conduit used by the government of Siaya to deny communities of their land rights. They are corrupt in dealing with communities with intention to thwart their efforts which has lasted more than 3 decades.
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