Pre-colonial to post-colonial Kenyan medicinal biodiversity governance and sustainable utilization

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Research Paper 12/04/2024
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Pre-colonial to post-colonial Kenyan medicinal biodiversity governance and sustainable utilization

Micheni Ndii Kiraithe, C. K. Kaluwa, J. Muthama Nzioka
J. Bio. Env. Sci.24( 4), 125-139, April 2024.
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In Kenya, there have been at least three main phases of biodiversity governance, utilization, and access, namely the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial phases. This research focuses on medicinal biodiversity governance during these distinct epochs. Using desk-top research, information on policies on medicinal biodiversity use across the country, from pre-colonial to post-colonial, was gathered. Questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data from 69 key informants. A variety of methodologies including historical narrative, thematic, and content analysis were used to analyze the desk-top research. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software was used to analyze quantitative data from questionnaires. Traditional societies in pre-colonial Kenya managed the use of medicinal biodiversity through customary laws, beliefs, and taboos enforced through community leadership structures, according to the findings. During colonialism, colonial overlords deprived indigenous communities of their biodiversity by instituting selfish policies aimed primarily at harvesting precious biodiversity for economic use back home. When Kenya gained independence in 1963, the new government inherited a colonial constitution that hampered biodiversity governance and utilization for nearly five decades until the promulgation of the 2010 Kenya constitution, which brought hope with its provisions for sustainable utilization, management, and conservation of the environment and natural resources, as embedded in Chapter Five. However, thirteen years later, there is no major legislation in Kenya managing the sustainable use of medicinal biodiversity. The research article emphasizes the importance of good biodiversity governance at the grassroots level in order to completely realize the governance and sustainable use of medicinal biodiversity.


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