Members of the Olkeri Group Ranch in Magadi, Kajiado West sub-county, celebrate after the transfer of 24,000 acres to communal land. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

There was jubilation in Kajiado West after 24,000 acres owned under a group ranch were reclassified as communal land.

This was in compliance with the Community Land Act of 2016 that requires that all group ranches transit to community land, where registration, management and protection are regulated.

At a transition event held in Magadi on Tuesday, more than 900 members of the Olkeri Group Ranch in Kajiado West sub-county queued to elect new officials. In the exercise overseen by the South Rift Association of Landowners (Soralo), and national and county land officers, 15 officials were elected.

Kajiado Land Registrar Paul Tonui said the transition would help resolve conflicts that have rocked group ranches, as every decision on land use, development and management will have to be adopted by two-thirds of registered members.

He noted that previously, management committees used to enrich themselves at the expense of members, with some going to the extent of conducting illegal sub-divisions and selling community land.

“This is a new beginning for the people of Kajiado. This idea of turning group ranches into communal land will help curb rampant land conflicts in this county,” he said.

Soralo CEO John Kamanga said the new guidelines have brought women on board and will ensure equal sharing of land in sub-division, resources and benefits accruing from the communally owned land.

Newly elected chairman Tom Metian said his team would spearhead changes in line with the Constitution and ensure proper management of community owned land.

Kajiado County has 15 group ranches. The 10 group ranches which were sub-divided have been rocked by controversy over reports that some beneficiaries were not members. 

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