The land question remains an emotive issue across Kenya regardless of one’s ethnic origins. Today, almost every Kenyan seeks to own a kaplot, a piece of earth however small, that one can call one’s own. The resultant conflicts that arise with this mindset are many and are at the centre of displacement and marginalization of many Kenyans while enriching a few in the privileged class.

Yet this need not be the case if we all learnt from our past and especially the manner in which communities perceived land and the relationship that existed between the people (communities) and the land.

In Tears of Disinheritance, Ben Ole Koissaba systematically analyzes many of the issues arising from matters of land from the perspective of the Maasai. Going as far back as memory and written records reach, Dr. Koissaba captures the story of the Maasai, their origins, belief system, and migrations to vast stretches of land that form most of the Rift Valley, both in Kenya and Tanzania. He succinctly captures the genesis of many a conflict, displacement, and subsequent impoverishment, including treaties purportedly signed on behalf of the Maasai at the advent of colonialism; treaties that even independent Kenya has failed to address. Tears of Disinheritance makes the case for the rights of indigenous peoples in Kenya, drawing parallels with similar cases in countries like Canada, Australia, and the USA.

This book is thought-provoking in more ways than one on matters of land and how best to view and use the land as well as how best to protect the land rights of indigenous people in Kenya.

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