Customary practices on gender and land ownership in Kadibo division: Implications for Implementation of kenya's constitution
Odicoh, Ayoo O
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This cross-sectional study had two objectives; firstly, to identify gender related customary practices which govern ownership of land in Kadibo Division of Kisumu County in Kenya; and secondly, to examine how awareness of entitlement to land ownership affects individual empowerment to own land. The study sought to posit the implications of the outcomes to implementation of Kenya's constitution (2010). A hundred survey respondents-fifty and ten key informants, with equal number of females were interviewed and ten Focus Group Discussions, five for females and five for males, with eight to ten participants were carried out in Bwanda, Katho, K'Ochieng East and Kombura in Kadibo locations. Six prevalent customary practices are found, which evidence that one's sex as a male is a criterion, pre-determined by Luo customary rules, for entitlement to ownership of family land. A fixed right-left hand allotment rule prescribes which land, in relation to the parent's dwelling, sons will inherit even before they are born; whilst entitlement of daughters to land is annihilated through presumptions of their ownership rights at matrimonial homes, where land has already been pre-appropriated following the foresaid rule. The study finds that duty bearers, namely fathers, mothers, clan elders and government officials constitutes the key structures which reinforce gender discriminatory practices in land ownership, with its visible outcome of countering constitutional outcomes on gender equality. Anecdotal evidences which demonstrate instances where women have owned land in Kadibo are found. However, these come with conditions, which dictate subsequent transfer to male lineage. Awareness among right holders on their entitlements is to some extent perceived as linked to positive outcomes in entitlement and claims to land. As gender equality is a new norm, the old/existing norms which advance gender inequalities in land ownership need to be understood and systematically replaced with those that advance gender equality. This requires systematically inculcating into the nucleus of Luo and other cultures in the country, the concept and principles of gender equality in land ownership; restructuring governance and institutions of governance; embracing quality and accountable leadership; continuous relevant research; creating an enabling policy and legal environment for gender equality in land ownership; and investing in fiduciary and programmatic systems, which systematically entrench gender equal practices in land ownership.