Kenya's 999-year leases are declared invalid

Former Kenyan land leases of 999 years have been downgraded to 99 years, under the draft National Land Policy now undergoing a final review. The 999-year leases were mainly given to white landowners during the early days of Kenya’s colonization.

Under the new land policy, foreigners are prohibited from owning land although those willing to engage in productive ventures can lease land on a 99-year basis. Kenya’s critical land problems include millions of squatters, chaotic urban development, widespread landlessness and disinheritance of entire communities from ancestral land.

Lands Minister James Orengoùwho supports the policyùsaid land reform must precede the new constitution, underlining the need to address disputes that fuelled post-election violence. But the Kenya Landowners Federation calls the draft policy “a recipe for disaster.”

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