“If you have grabbed someone’s land, please return back to the owner and ask God for forgiveness. It is the best way to maintain peace,” Alliance for Real Change Presidential Candidate Mohammed Abduba Dida speaking at the charade that was the National and Reconciliation Prayers convened by Prophet Dr. David Owuor, at Uhuru Park, Nairobi.
Kenya’s second and final presidential debate to be moderated by KTN’s Joe Ageyo and Citizen TV’s Uduak Amimo takes place today at the Brookhouse School. Among the topics to be tackled are the economy, resources and resource management and foreign policy. But Land is bound to take up the lion’s share of the debate if recent pronouncements are anything to go by. Uhuru had threatened to boycott this debate on the pretext that Linus Kaikai was too hard on him but lenient on other candidates who also have logs in their eyes, but that was a lie, he may be developing cold feet as he may not be able to address the land question while his hands are soiled with the same. Raila Odinga has put Uhuru on his defence on account of the latter’s claims that he can fairly arbitrate on the explosive land question in Kenya. Uhuru strategy appears to have been jolted when his cousin Public Health Minister Beth Mugo, herself a large landowner in a fit of excitement cheated that the Kenyatta family is already “donating” part of its “legally” acquired Gicheha Farm in Taita Taveta to the locals. It is not lost to the Mijikenda that such promises in the past have amounted to nothing but disappointment and thus this new information is being received with pinch of salt – or contempt if you like. Raila on his part appears to enjoy overwhelming support from the residents of the coastal region some who mistakenly believe that he will do justice to them after having had to endure injustice under the colonial, Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki and Kibaki-Raila administrations.
This comedy of errors reminds me of my childhood. One day in November, 1997 Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi came in his Volkswagen Combi replesendent with its two flags, the national flag and the presidential standard to Dagoretti to campaign for Hon. Chris Kariuki Kamuyu at Ndurarua Grounds (when we were kids, we just liked seeing the president plus everyone agrees that this support was responsible for the loss of KK to Beth Mugo, Moi was toxic). He cheated us that he only had Karbanet Gardens as his property in Nairobi (claimed he was given by Kenyatta) and his salary was just enough to cover basic essentials at a time when he was knee-deep bringing the country to its knees. KANU thrived on lies and deception, evil thrived, children were forced to learn and recite the Nyayo loyalty pledge which I later found out was fake, a ruse like the KANU people. So while the people were fed with lies, public land and utilities were shared out among the party honchos and their progenies. The same people are the ones we are hoping will get us out of the muck they created.
Without mincing words, it is the plain but sad truth that the Kenyatta family owns more land that it needs at the expense of those who sincerely and genuinely deserve it. The defence that is always fronted that it was acquired through legal means fails the basic test, the test of integrity. Being legal does not amount to being right, just or fair. It was legal during Adolf Hitler’s time in office to use Jews as Guinea Pigs, but it was not right, it was legal for white men to own slaves in America not long ago, but it was not right, it was legal in 1957 for the British to execute Dedan Kimathi, but it was not right, there are very many legal events in history which were legal but not right. In a nutshell, Kenyatta’s family land holdings were legally acquired, but not rightly or justly. It was at the cost of dispossessing some that Kenyatta possessed, it was by displacement that Kenyatta occupied. Seriously it does not require Mwenda Makathimo to know that the Kenyatta family owes those whose lands were forcefully taken an apology and restitution.
So while the wealthiest people in the world from Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Marc Zuckerbag, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg are busy trying to offload the amount of money (most of it legally acquired and earned through sheer sweat and intelligence) they have through charity and philanthropy, Kenyatta’s family is still intent on amassing more and holding on to land which can be best utilised by those poor squatters whose forefathers were buried on way back before Jomo Kenyatta was even born. And Uhuru still expects to win votes from these disenfranchised coastarians? Uhuru cannot shy away from the fact that his father’s legacy was the genesis of the land troubles at the Coast. It is evil that in the age where people are living in dire straits, fighting over small pieces of land for subsistence farming, Kenyatta’s family prizes it landholding and lives in opulence. Uhuru’s mother has been taken to court by a Nakuru farmer who alleges that his land was forcefully taken away from him by Kenyatta.
What can we do? Nothing much. Even the National Land Commission which was appointed is likely to be the tail that is wagged by the dog, not the dog that wags the tail. The sons and daughters of those who created these problems are still very much entrenched in the system and they cannot right the wrongs as they will expose their flanks; it will take more than just good laws to right the wrongs. It will take Kikuyus, Luos, Turkanas, Pokots, Pokomos, Kisiis, Rendilles, Njemps and all other Kenyans who have to crawl on their knees while the Railas, Uhurus, Rutos, Karua, Kalonzos, Muites, Mudavadis ride their top of the range cars on their backs. It will take the unity of purpose based on an idea of justice and truth for us to see change, not voting for tribal kingpins. No common Kikuyu can access Uhuru, no common Luo can access Raila, they are all struggling trying to put food on their tables, so please, do not antagonize and ostracize any of them based on what a tribal Kingpin does or says. Your neigbhours irrespective of their tribal affiliations are humans like you, with the ability to feel both joy and sadness. I have been thinking and have come to a conclusion, none of the contenders or politicians is a punda (donkey), they are all farasis (horses,) and most of us the voters are pundas. We work, they get paid.
In conclusion, I know that there is no difference of ideology between Raila and Uhuru, and so whichever way the vote goes, debate wise or poll wise, the current state of affairs will not change. The war of all against all will continue, the push for a better future will continue to be a push and what has been will continue to be. The Ndung’u Land Report was shelved without any action being taken because those who were to action it were implicated in the gross scandals documented. It is a scratch my back I scratch your back system, Uhuru sorts Raila, Raila sorts Uhuru with the commodity being the poor hapless and landless squatters and voters. Take your pick!