As we prepare for the next electoral season, let us remember that land and specifically women's land rights has been at the very core of human existence since times immemorial. Therefore, it is not surprising that since the advent of human civilization, wars, rebellions, movements, struggles of masses have, in substantial measures, been around issues of land, and the labor of women working it. Thus, ownership of a piece of land is not only a crucial contributor to a sense of belonging in society and critical in facilitating well-being of masses. And it is our contention that in most developing countries, importance of land as a basis of for citizenship and economic justice cannot be overemphasized.
Yet, efforts at land reforms have been, more often than not, severely compromised by the political manipulations due to the fact that political elites are also the landed elites. And equally, important to note is that the most neglected, but extremely urgent issue of land rights for women must be addressed as provided by our constitution to redress a major structural bottleneck in effecting a successful transition of the economy.
Kenya is at a historic moment, in which the transition to a peaceful future will depend on how we address the land issue on the basis of transforming Kenya into an inclusive society; based on growth with equity. More important we can predict with certainty that in this period of electioneering there will be no lasting peace if the country does not commit itself to resolving the issue of land reform. With three out of every five Kenyans depending on agriculture and pastoralism, it is essential the commitments by political parties to land reform be transformed from words to actions. It is our shared belief that land reform will overcome hostility and historical injustices that prevent Kenyans to live in harmony, because our new constitutional dispensation seeks to resolve historical injustice and does not protect property in land acquired unlawfully.
The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides the place where words can become transformed into actions and hence we should urge all persons of power and influence to embrace the new constitutional dispensation for non-violent change as we go to elections by the end of 2012 or early 2013.
Finally as we launch Tuvuke we should assure Kenyans that democracy has usually occurred much later in countries dominated by large landlords compared to those that rely on smallholder production. Where land rights and security of access have been addressed there has also been a break with land conflicts for prosperity and posterity.
I am confident that we will collectively achieve the vision and mission of Tuvuke of free, peaceful and fair elections by guiding the country towards efficient, sustainable and equitable use of our land resource.