By Hillary Lisimba
Since time immemorial, land has been a thorny issue in Kenya, an asset that has broken homes, torn families apart, and led to hundreds of death. Most times, the bone of contention is usually in the ownership details, grey areas that can create insurmountable trouble when the property changes hands.
As recent as last week, Lands Chief Administrative Secretary Kimani Ngunjiri was reported to have stormed a farm belonging to Susan Murugi before firing and injuring one man. The lawmaker was disarmed as police launched investigations into the shooting.
First female CEO at KLA
That is the damage one Faith Alubbe has dedicated her life to undoing, as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kenya Land Alliance (KLA). As a matter of fact, she holds a record as the first female head the nonprofit organisation domiciled in Nakuru.
In an interview with TUKO.co.ke, the astute lawyer disclosed that her interest in policies governing land were sparked when she worked for the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).
"I found myself dealing with divorce cases in which land and property were the biggest bones of contention," she started.
Pushed for passing of Matrimonial Act 2014
Faith wondered why people who had built wealth together would now be viciously tearing into each other over the same. What's worse, most times the women lost because it was difficult to quantify their contribution towards property acquisition. According to her, patriarchy passed on from generation to generation made the society believe that women are "wild seeds" since they can move from one family to the next.
It is the reason she has been at the forefront in changing the course of things through the corridors of justice, which led to the achievement of, among other accolades, the Matrimonial Act 2014.
"I am happy that the courts are now beginning to award women property if they can prove that they helped create it," she continued.
KLA offers pro bono legal services
Her experience in working with marginalised populations dates back to the period she worked as the program officer overseeing the Transitional Justice Program for Kenya’s Human Rights Commission. During her tenure, she dealt with rural women, widows, and internally displaced persons to define, claim, and defend their land and property rights. That explains why, sitting at the helm of KLA, her focus is on working with community-based organizations to provide legal services to residents of slums and rural areas, most times pro bono.
Faith holds an MA in project management and design, a law degree from the University of Nairobi, and a postgraduate diploma in human resource management.
Faith helped Mau Mau veterans win case
She currently boasts over nine years of experience working with marginalised communities on land rights and advocating for the inclusion of women in leadership and governance.
"I look forward to the day Kenya stops commodifying land in a manner that makes it a do or die affair, and where women will inherit land on the same level as the men," she concluded.
Even with her high-level optimism, Faith is alive to the fact that Kenya is a capitalist state where the rich have their way, and that some things may never change. Apart from the above, the other win on her decorated resume is helping the Mau Mau veterans win their case against the British government when she was at the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
This article was published on TUKO NEWS on 22 April 2023. Read it here: https://www.tuko.co.ke/people/503133-faith-alube-young-woman-helping-marginalised-kenyans-defend-land-property-rights/