Resisting Development in Kenya’s Lamu District: A Postcolonial Reading

"The Kenyan government’s plan to build a seaport in Lamu District has been met with vehement resistance by the indigenous residents of the District. Residents have raised concerns that the government has wilfully failed to include them in any part of the decision. They also point out that the seaport represents a further ‘land grab’ in a District where the vast majority of residents remain landless ‘squatters’, five decades after independence. The proposed seaport which forms part of a larger development plan known as the LAPSSET Corridor, has induced a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear in the residents. To counter the LAPSSET Corridor, residents have begun to organise resistance to the proposal. This policy brief argues that national development planning, which purposefully ignores local participation and needs, is short-sighted and unsustainable. It calls on the Kenyan government to honour the spirit of its 2010 Constitution and move towards transparent and holistic development that includes a process of settling indigenous land claims in Lamu District."