Access to Land - Kenya
Matrimonial Property Act, 2013 has provisions on:
Equal status of spouses (Section 4)
A married women has the same rights as a married man:
- to acquire, administer, hold, control, use and dispose of property whether movable or immovable;
- to enter into a contract; and
- to sue and be sued in her own name.
Special provisions on Matrimonial property (Section 12)
- Matrimonial property cannot be sold, leased or mortgaged during a monogamous marriage without the consent of both spouses (See section 12(1));
- Spouses in marriages, including the man and any of the man’s wives in the case of a polygamous marriage, have an interest in matrimonial property capable of protection by caveat, caution or any law in force on registration of title deeds;
Divorce or dissolution of polygamous marriage:
Matrimonial property act (Section 8) clarifies:
- Matrimonial property acquired by the man after the man marries another wife shall be regarded as owned by the man and the wives taking into account any contributions made by the parties;
- it is possible for a wife to hold her matrimonial property with the husband separate from that of the other wives; any wife can own matrimonial property equally with the husband without the participation of the other wife or wives.
Women in Kenya have access to land but lack control over it, this in turn stops them from using title deeds as a form of collateral when seeking financing for their businesses.
This challenge limits the improvement of their economic status. Kenya has undertaken legal reforms that will help women acquire property.
Women can now buy and register land individually and they can inherit land from their parents and husbands because of the matrimonial property act.
In 2018 the Kenya Land Alliance disaggregated and analyzed 1,000,099 out of the about 3,200,000 title deeds issued by the Government of Kenya from 2013 to 2017.
In this audit, KLA found out that only 103,043 titles representing 10.3 percent were issued to women while 865,095 titles representing 86.5 percent went to men.
In terms of hectares, out of 10,129,704 ha of land titled; women got 163,253 ha representing a paltry 1.62 percent, while men got 9,903,304 ha representing 97.76 percent.