Land Tenure refers to the manner in which individuals or groups of people within community or society enjoy rights of access to land at a broader level, this would include the conditions under which such land is enjoyed.  Of course at a broader level this would also include the conditions under which such land is held or access to it, enjoyed. Many examples of that can be identified. For instance, land may be held from some superior authority. Depending on the setting, land may be held from some superior authority, such as the Crown, as is the case under the English system. Or for the Kabaka under the Baganda system in feudal Baganda. Or in some unspecific political authority within the tribe, may be from elders within the tribe or clan or through a lineage or in some case through family arrangement, which authorizes that particular question.

Communal Tenure

In most societies in pre-colonial Kenya the commonest mode of land holding was indeed thro non specific authority within the clan or lineage or families and towards that end, we may identify several types of land tenure so that one may talk of such tenure taking the form of the broader communal tenure whereby members of the group are deemed to have equal rights of access to the land, that is considered to belong to that community.

Family Tenure

At a much lower level it may take the level of family tenure which serves as the basis of granting access to land so that qualification as a family member will determine whether or not such rights of access would be forthcoming to an individual.  We may consider such holdings under feudal tenure which is essentially a political arrangement of sorts whereby some political authority was deemed to control land in total discretion determining who should be permitted to use what portions of land and under what conditions and in exchange for what services which could be in kind or could take the form of doing manual labour or rendering vital services such as serving in the army or defending the frontiers or working in the palace or it could even take the form of giving payment in kind such as a certain percentage of all produce harvested being devoted towards payment for being allowed to use certain portions of land.

Individual Tenure

A person here would hold land on more or less a permanent basis free from any adverse claims from others and absolutely answerable to no one in the enjoyment of such property.  This again is a new development in terms of their developments.  It is perhaps the last of the forms of land tenure to emerge and this is what almost all jurisdictions are fast learning to embrace due to its perceived advantages.  Individual tenure is with no encumbrances or claims emanating from other quarters.  Sometimes it is hard to draw a line between the categories of land tenure but broadly speaking, one can come out with those categories.  For instance in areas coming under individual tenure that were previously in another tenure you may have a problem defining the category.


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