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How to Eradicate Poverty for Inclusive Development in Kenya

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By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are expected to inform the efforts of member states in achieving sustainable development, poverty eradication, and environmental conservation and protection. They offer an integrated approach, which is environmentally conscious, to combating the various problems that affect the human society as well as the environmental resources. It has rightly been argued that a development strategy anchored in inclusive growth can have two mutually reinforcing strategic focuses, namely: high, sustainable growth which can create and expand economic opportunities; and broader access to these opportunities which can ensure that members of society can participate in and benefit from growth. This is meant to ensure that growth reaches the impoverished who remain excluded by circumstance, poor governance, and other market-resistant obstacles.

Gender Sensitive Approaches to Poverty Eradication

Poverty affects males and females in varying ways and as such, any efforts geared towards its eradication should bring on board all the affected parties in order to come up with effective mechanisms that will not only reflect and address the needs of all sections of the society, but will also facilitate participation of all. This is also important as it helps generate social acceptance of the government’s policies while are geared towards addressing the real issues affecting its people. In most parts of the world, women comprise the largest group among those excluded from the benefits of economic expansion and thus ought to be closely involved in development agenda to address their unique needs and ensured that they are also empowered in all spheres of life. One of the main reasons why it is critical to empower women is the fact that women are considered as economic actors: they produce and process food for the family; they are the primary caretakers of children, the elderly and the sick; and their income and labour are directed toward children’s education, health and well-being.97 If both men and women are empowered, then households will get closer to eradicating poverty and focus on self-actualization and national development.

Eradicating Poverty for Environmental Sustainability

Poverty deprives people of the choice about whether or not to be environmentally sound in their activities. The 1987 Brundtland Commission Report stated: ‘those who are poor and hungry will often destroy their immediate environment in order to survive: They will cut down forests; their livestock will overgraze grasslands; they will overuse marginal land; and in growing numbers they will crowd into congested cities. The cumulative effect of these changes is so far-reaching as to make poverty itself a major global scourge.’ This may result in climate change, which again, has the reverse effect of contributing to poverty due to dwindling natural resources. Thus, poverty eradication should go hand in hand with climate mitigation measures. Notably, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges this interrelationship as it seeks to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by the year 2030.

Value Addition Model versus Commodity Export Model for Africa

It has been pointed out that one of the greatest unresolved challenges facing Africa’s agribusiness sector is the lack of value addition. As a way of addressing poverty in Kenya and Africa in general, there is a need for governments to adopt and develop the value addition model as opposed to a commodity export model, as a way of promoting the use of the resources as anchors for regional growth clusters and consequently ensuring that they attract value-addition industries for job creation. Notably, most processing of cash crops in Africa is basic where the majority of cash crops go through the bare minimum required for export or sale to the next part of the value chain and the results are that while African farmers and processors put in all the work to make a fungible commodity that is easy to trade, all of the value add goes to those further down the chain.

There is a need to change this practice as way of ensuring that African farmers and processors get value for the African resources and also get an opportunity for job creation which will ultimately help in alleviation of poverty. The lack of an efficient marketing infrastructure in Africa which prevents farmers and processors from getting full value from their crop, even in its raw form ought to be addressed in order to reverse this trend. Such initiatives as the African Union’s African Commodity Strategy, a part of Agenda 2063, should be fully exploited in order to find strategic measures to address price volatility and to use Africa’s wealth of natural resources and absolute advantage in the commodities market to ensure that Africa’s commodities are used for its industrialisation.

Notably, increased participation in international trade can catalyse economic growth and foster sustainable development. As such, promoting value addition and enhancing domestic productive capacity is therefore of continuing importance in developing countries as they seek to participate beneficially in global trade.  There is also a need for diversification of economic activities in the country as this may cushion the communities and national economy generally from unforeseen disruptions or a decline in the agricultural sector production which is prone to climate change yet it is considered to be the backbone of Kenya’s economy. The need for diversification has been witnessed in rural areas where it was reported in 2019 that poverty declined considerably in rural areas, from about 50% in 2005-06 to 38.8% in 2015-16, largely attributed to the increasing importance of non-agricultural income (particularly commerce) to supplement agricultural income for rural households, which has been aided by the expansion of mobile money and the telecommunication revolution. There is therefore a need for the Government to work closely with stakeholders in different sectors to create opportunities for the Kenyan people, as a channel for diversification.

Population Control

Notably, while African economies are generating more income, that income has to be shared among an ever-increasing number of people, thus causing a slower rate in poverty reduction than population growth. The result has been that as more people leave the poverty class, others are joining that reducing the rate of poverty eradication in the continent. For instance, in Kenya, in 2009, it was estimated that Kenya had a population of 37.7 million people and the figure grew to about 47.6 million people in 2019. As already pointed out, high population growth comes with extra expenditure and stretched out incomes thus undoing all the gains made in eradication of poverty. There is a need for the Government to work closely with other stakeholders such as religious organizations, civil societies and NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) to educate the communities on the need for birth control. This will not only ease strain on the particular households but also on the national economy.

Need for Increased Access to Finance for Communities Empowerment

It has been pointed out that eradicating deprivations, building capabilities and opening up opportunities require investment and as a result, governments should not only increase public spending towards empowerment programmes and measures but should also work closely with the private sector in order to help increase access and offer new approaches to provisioning. While there has been a number of Kenyan Government funded initiatives aimed at financing youth and women groups for empowerment, and commendably so, there is a need for the Government to also consider the men folk especially in the villages and informal urban settlements especially where the man is the head of the household. This will not only ensure that there is equity and equality but will also empower these households financially especially where the man has children and no wife or the wife is not in a position to work for gain for one reason or the other.

Empowered households are able to tackle poverty without waiting for government handouts and donations and this also safeguards their dignity as human beings. This is also likely to spur economic diversification through investments in non-agricultural sectors such as information technology and science and technology in general, in line with the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The Government should thus continually work with financial institutions to ensure that financing is available to all those who need it. This should target both formal and informal sectors in both urban and rural areas for accelerated eradication of poverty in Kenya. However, the Government should also ensure that as these groups of people make their investment, there is a conducive tax regime to promote growth and development as well as ready markets both within the country and outside Kenya for the marketing of the end products, whichever the sector.

Promotion of Regional and International Trade

Trade is one of the most critical driving forces of economic development for all countries, usually aimed at development and the eradication of poverty. The World Bank asserts that countries that are open to international trade tend to grow faster, innovate, improve productivity and provide higher income and more opportunities to their people. In addition, open trade also benefits lower-income households by offering consumers more affordable goods and services. The Government of Kenya should continually take advantage of the regional and international trade agreements and deals that will ensure that they get markets for goods and services produced or offered in the country and also ensure that the market remains affordable for the average Kenyan especially for goods and services that may not be available locally. This has the twin effect of not only ensuring that Kenyans earn money but also ensuring that they get the best deals when making purchases. The increased disposable income and the potential savings by consumers from an expanded market has the potential to address poverty and ultimately contribute to national development.

*This article is an extract from the Article: “Eradicating Poverty for Inclusive Development in Kenya,” (2021) Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development Volume 7(3), p. 81  by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya). Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized among the top 5 leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts in Kenya by the Chambers Global Guide 2022.

References

Muigua, K., “Eradicating Poverty for Inclusive Development in Kenya,” (2021) Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development Volume 7(3), p. 81.

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Former KCB Company Secretary Sues Over Unlawful Dismissal

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Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania who has sued the Bank for Unlawful Dismissal

Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania has sued the lender seeking reinstatement or be compensated for illegal sacking almost three years ago. Lawyer Kania was the KCB Group company secretary until restructuring of the lender in 2021 that saw some senior executives dropped.

Through the firm of Senior Counsel Wilfred Nderitu, Kamau wants the court to order KCB Group to unconditionally reinstate him to employment without altering any of the contractual terms until his retirement in December 2025.

In his court documents filed before Employment and Labour Relations Court, the career law banker seeks the court to declare the reorganization of the company structure a nullity and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution. He further wants the court to declare that the position of Group Company Secretary did not at any time cease to exist within the KCB Group structure.

He further urged the Employment Court to declare that the recruitment and appointment of Bonnie Okumu, his former assistant, as the Group Company Secretary, in relation to the contemporaneous termination of his employment, was unprocedural, insufficient and inappropriate to infer a lawful termination of his employment.

“A declaration that the factual and legal circumstances of the Petitioner’s termination of employment were insufficient and inappropriate to infer a redundancy against him, and that any redundancy declared by the KCB Group in relation to him was therefore null, void and of no legal effect and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau says he was subjected to discriminatory practices by the KCB Bank Group in violation of his fundamental right to equality and freedom from discrimination as guaranteed in Article 27 of the Constitution and the termination of his employment was unfair, unjustified, illegal, null and void.

Lawyer Kamau further seeks the court to declare that the Non-Compete Clause in the 2016 Contract is unenforceable by the KCB Group as against him and is voidable by him as against the Bank ab initio, byreason of the termination of the Petitioner’s employment having been a violation of Articles 41(1) and 47(1) and (2) of the Constitution, and of the Employment Act.

He also wants the Employment Court to find that finding that KCB’s group legal representation by Messrs of Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates law firm in respect of his claim for unlawful termination of employment resulted in a clear conflict of interest by reason of the fact that a Founding and Senior Partner at the said firm lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga is also the Chairman of the CBK’s Board of Directors.

“A Declaration that the circumstances of KCB’s legal representation by Messrs. Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates resulted in a violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to have the employment dispute decided independently and impartially, as guaranteed in Article 50(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau is seeking damages against both KCB Group and Central Bank of Kenya jointly and severally for the violation of his constitutional and fundamental right to fair labour practices.

He wants  further wants court to declare that CBK is liable to petitioner on account of its breach of statutory duty to effectively regulate KCB Group to ensure that KCB complied with the Central Bank of Kenya Prudential Guidelines and all other Laws, Rules, Codes and Standards, and that, as an issuer of securities, it complied with capital markets legislation.

Kamau through his lawyer Nderitu told the court that he was involved in Shareholder engagement in introducing the Group aide-mémoire that significantly improved the management of the Annual General Meetings, including obtaining approval without voting through the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Kenya Commercial Bank Limited among others.

He said that during his employment at KCB Bank Kenya and with the KCB Group, he initially worked well with former KCB CEO Joseph Oigara until 2016 when the CEO allegedly started sidelining him by removing the legal function from his reporting line.

He further claims he was transferred from the Group’s offices at Kencom House to its offices Upper Hill under the guise that the Petitioner was merely to support the KCB Group Board.

He adds that at that point his roles were given to Okumu for reasons that were not related to work demands.  He stated that Oigara at one time proposed that he should leave his role in the KCB Group and go and serve as the Company Secretary of the National Bank of Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of the Group, a suggestion which he disagreed with to Oigara’s utter annoyance.

Kamau stated that his work was thenceforth unfairly discredited, leading to his being taken through a disciplinary process whose intended outcome failed miserably, and the Petitioner was vindicated.

“More specifically, the Petitioner contends that the purported creation of a new organizational structure towards the end of 2020 was in fact Oigara’s orchestration targeted to remove certain individuals by requiring them to undergo interviews in the pretext that new roles were created, and amounted to a further violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to fair labour practices under Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” said in his court documents.

He further adds that this sham reorganization demonstrates how the role of the KCB Group Company Secretary purportedly ceased to be and was then very briefly replaced with a new role of the KCB Group General Counsel. The role of KCB Group Company Secretary then ‘resurfaced’ immediately thereafter, in total violation of legal and regulatory requirements.

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Court of Appeal Upholds Eviction of Radcliffes from Karen Land

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Adrian Radcliffe, the Expatriate Squatter, Evicted from Karen Property by Innocent Purchaser for Value

The Court of Appeal has stayed the decision of the Environment and Land Court purporting to reinstate Adrian Radcliffe into possession of the 5.7 Acre Karen Land by Kena Properties Ltd after eviction by the lawful owners in February 2022. Adrian Radcliffe who was evicted by Kena Properties Ltd, the innocent purchaser of the Land for value.

Before his eviction, Mr. Radcliffe had been living on the land as a squatter expatriate for 33 years without paying any rent. Since he moved into the property as a tenant, he only paid deposit for the land in August 1989 despite corresponding severally with the owner of the land. His attempt to acquire the land by adverse possession claim filed in 2005 was dismissed by Court in 2011 on the basis that he has engaged with the owner of the land July 1997 and agreed to buy the land which he failed to do. The High Court [Justice Kalpana Rawal as she then was] concluded that:

“His [Mr. Adrian Radcliffe] averments that he did not have any idea of the whereabouts of the Defendant and that he could possibly be not alive, were not only very sad but mala fide in view of the correspondence on record addressed by him to the Defendant’s wife. I would thus find that the averments made by him to the contrary are untrue looking to the facts of this case.”

On 10th March 2022, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe and Family purported to obtain court orders for reinstatement into the land. However, the Court of Appeal issued an interim stay of execution of the said orders. The Court of Appeal has now granted the application of Kena Properties Ltd and stayed the execution of the Environment and Land Court Order pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.

The Court also stayed the proceedings at the Environment and Land Court on the matter during the pendency of the Appeal. In effect, the eviction orders issued by the Chief Magistrate Court for eviction of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe in favour of Kena Properties as the purchaser of the property for value were upheld and the company now enjoys unfettered ownership and possession of the suit property until the conclusion of the Appeal.

The Court of Appeal in granting the orders sought by Kena Properties Ltd concurred with Kena Properties Ltd that as the property owner it had an arguable appeal with a high probability of success which would be rendered nugatory if Adrian Radcliffe a trespasser was to resume his unlawful possession of the suit property, erect structures thereon, recklessly use or abuse the said suit property as he deems fit. In any case, that is bound to fundamentally alter the state of the suit property and render it unusable by Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner.

At the same time, the Appellate Court rubbished the argument of Adrian Radcliffe in opposition to the application for stay that he has been in occupation of the suit property for more than 30 years and that he and his family were unlawfully evicted from the suit property on 4th February, 2022. The Court also rejected Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties Ltd has no valid title to the suit property and held that as the purchaser, the company was entitled to enjoy ownership and possession of their property during the pendency of the appeal.

The Court dismissed claims of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe that Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner acquired title to the suit property illegally and unprocedurally finding to the contrary. Further, it rejected Adrian Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties as the purchaser cannot evict a legal occupier of a property putting paid to the claim that he was a legal occupier at the time of eviction.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe cannot claim to be the legal occupier of the property having attempted to acquire it by adverse possession before the High Court thwarted his fraudulent scheme on 28th February 2011. Mr. Radcliffe did not appeal the 2011 High Court decision meaning it is still the law that he is not the owner of the land nor the legal occupier of the land having attempted to adversely acquire against the interests of the lawful owner who sold it to Kena Properties.

Mr. Adrian Radcliffe is a well-to-do Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) UNICEF consultant and former UN employee (who has been earning hefty House Allowance). Many have wondered why he has been defaulting in paying rent for 33 years on the prime plot of land in Karen while living large and taking his kids to most expensive schools in Kenya. No question, a local Kenyan could never have gotten away with such selfish impunity.

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Review: Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1

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The Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Volume 9, Issue No. 1, which is edited by and published by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD is out and stays true to the reputation of the journal in providing a platform for scholarly debate on thematic areas in the fields of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development. The current issue published in September 2022 covers diverse topics including Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in Africa; National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya; Protection of Cultural Heritage During War; The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya; Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya; Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation; Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World; Status of Participation of Women in Mediation; Business of Climate Change and Critical Analysis of World Trade Organization’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment.

Dr. Wilfred A. Mutubwa and Eunice Njeri Ng’ang’a in “Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in an Integrating Africa: An Appraisal of the Role of Regional Arbitration Centres” explore the nature of disputes in the realm of oil and gas in Africa taking a look into the recent continental and sub-regional developments in a bid to establish regional integration. Additionally, it tests the limits of intra-African trade and dispute resolution and the imperatives for the African regional courts and arbitration centres. In “National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua discusses the role played by the National Environment Tribunal (NET) in promoting access to justice and enhancing the principles of sustainable development in Kenya. The paper also highlights challenges facing the tribunal and proposes recommendations towards enhancing the effectiveness of the tribunal.

Dr. Kenneth Wyne Mutuma in “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Times of War: A Case for History,” argues that cultural heritage is at the heart of human existence and its preservation even in times of war is sacrosanct. It concludes that it is thus critical for states to take positive and tangible steps to ensure environmental conservation and protection during war within the ambit of the existing international legal framework. In “The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya,” Jack Shivugu critically evaluates the role of water in the attainment of sustainable development in Kenya and argues water plays a critical role in the attainment of the sustainable development goals both in Kenya and at the global stage. The paper interrogates some of the water and Sustainable Development concerns in Kenya including water pollution, water scarcity and climate change and suggests practical ways to enhance the role of water in the Sustainable Development agenda.

Dr. Paul Ogendi in “Collective Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya,” reflects on property rights in relation to human biological materials obtained from research participants participating in genomic research. He argues that property rights are crucial in genomic research because they can help avoid exploitation or abuse of such precious material by researchers. In “Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua notes that Wetlands have a vital role in not just delivering ecological services to meet human needs, but also in biodiversity conservation. Wetlands are vital habitat sites for many species and a source of water, both of which contribute to biodiversity protection. The paper examines the role of wetlands in biodiversity conservation and how these wetland resources might be managed to improve biodiversity conservation.

Oseko Louis D. Obure in “Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World,” preponderance of disputes between States or States and Investors created need for a robust, effective, and efficient mechanisms not only for the resolution of these disputes but also their prevention. He notes that developing states lead in being parties to Investor-State Disputes (ISD) particularly as respondents. He proceeds to conceptualize and problematize investor-state disputes resolution in a fast-paced world. Lilian N.S. Kong’ani and Dr. Kariuki Muigua in “Status of Participation of Women in Mediation: A case Study of Development Project Conflict in Olkaria IV, Kenya” review the status of participation of women in mediation to resolve conflicts between KenGen and the community. The paper demonstrates a need for further democratization of the mediation processes to cater for more participation of women to enhance the mediation results and offer more sustainable resolutions.

Felix Otieno Odhiambo and Melinda Lorenda Mueni in “The Business of Climate Change: An Analysis of Carbon Trading in Kenya analyses the business of carbon trading in the context of Kenya’s legal framework. The article examines the legal framework that underpins climate change into the Kenyan legal system and provides an exposition of the concept of carbon trading and its various forms. Michael Okello, in “Critical Analysis of World Trade Organisation’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment: Prospects, Challenges and Emerging Trends in the 21st Century,” highlights the rationale behind MFN treatment and also restates the vision of multilateral trade to achieve equitable and special interventions with respect to trade in goods, services and trade related intellectual property rights in the affected states.

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