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Maasai Group Ranches, Minority Land Owners, and the Political Landscape of Laikipia County, Kenya


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Taylor & Francis Group
Africa | Eastern Africa

Recent land conflicts in Laikipia County, Kenya, have re-ignited debates about the future of minority land ownership in eastern Africa. With climate change, foreign investment, and population growth placing unprecedented pressure on lands, Laikipia has become a "battleground" for land struggles involving some of Kenya's most alienated ethnic and racial groups. Providing ethnographic insight into land politics in Laikipia in the lead up to the 2017 general elections, this article examines the relationships between Laikipia's Maasai communities and three distinct private land parcels that neighbor them. While significant segments of land in Laikipia are owned by foreigners or Kenyans of European descent, the county is home to other minority landowners whose political significance is underappreciated. Though the owners of some large ranches in Laikipia see neighboring pastoralists as liabilities, others see them as a source of political capital or allies in the struggle to secure...


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