GBM Blog

GBM helps Kenya enter a new era

September 8, 2010 - 10:55AM
Published by Professor Karanja Njoroge

On August 5th 2010 Kenyans voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new constitution, marking the beginning of a new era in Kenyan politics. In this special blog our Executive Director Professor Karanja Njoroge explains how GBM was involved in bringing about the new constitution and what it means for the environment.

GBM were heavily involved in both advocacy and civic education aspects of the new constitution for the last year. We, obviously, have been more concerned about the aspects of the constitution that relate to the environment particularly the ownership and use of land resources.

Kenya being almost totally dependent on rain-fed agriculture, it is imperative that our laws are supportive of improved land use practices that ensure sustainable agriculture and continued access to rainwater.

GBM was very active in ensuring that the Constitution spoke on the need to protect and conserve our forests and biodiversity.

Chapter 5 that deals with Land and the Environment states that land can be held, used and managed in a manner which is equitable, efficient, productive and sustainable in accordance with the following principles—
(a) equitable access to land;
(b) security of land rights;
(c) sustainable and productive management of land resources;
(d) transparent and cost effective administration of land;
(e) sound conservation and protection of ecologically sensitive areas;
(f) elimination of gender discrimination in laws, regulations, customs and practices related to land and property in land; and
(g) encouragement of communities to settle land disputes through recognized local community initiatives consistent with this Constitution.

This was a big win for GBM since there were interests that were opposed to enshrining equitable access to land in the constitution, and the concept of sound conservation and protection of ecologically sensitive areas like our five water towers : Mau Complex, Mt Kenya, Aberdares, Mt. Elgon and the Cherangani Hills.

GBM is thus proud to be associated with birth of the new constitution.

In particular, during the Promulgation Ceremony on 27th August 2010, both the Vice President Kalonzo Stephen Musyoka and the Rt Hon. Prime Minister Raila Odinga, paid tribute to the advocacy work done by Prof. Wangari Maathai.

It was an exciting day for all of us.

GBM was also involved in advocacy work over the Bill of Rights within the constitution. GBM’s philosophy has been the three legged stool concept: The Environment / Democracy and Good Governance / Peace. Each of the leg is an important and critical requirement for human development and survival. Therefore GBM has been interested in developing community’s appreciation and understanding of democracy and human rights and culture of peace.

To find out more about GBM’s work on civil education central please visit our programmes page.