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The case of the Endorois

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The Endorois are a small tribe of Kalenjin pastoralists, closely related to the Tugen. They used to range over a large area around Lake Bogoria, but were evicted from the narrow shores of the lake when the reserve was created in 1974 (see wtinyurl.com/ybezkjt). Although they lost little of their traditional grazing lands within the reserve’s narrow confines, what they did lose was precious and fertile, including land along the wooded southern shore, where several streams provided valuable fresh water, and at Loboi in the north, where the ill-conceived spa-hotel owned by the family of former president Daniel Arap Moi expropriated the warm springs. They also lost valuable honey and sources of herbal medicine. Like every one of Kenya’s indigenous groups, they had valid claims, and the four percent share of the gate receipts allotted to them was pitifully low – especially since Bogoria rarely figures on safari itineraries. Inspired community leadership saw them pursue restitution of their lands and compensation as far as the African Union’s Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which ruled in their favour in 2010, setting a new precedent for minority rights across the continent. However, as of 2012 the decision had yet to be implemented, and the Endorois were still waiting to reclaim their land.

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