BOOM! 500,000 Acres Repossessed.
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Whenever Jubilee Alliance wants to propagate a lie, they detour back to the Grand Coalition Government and apportion blame to those in the current opposition which served then.
Take for example yesterday’s ‘breakthrough’ in the puzzle that’s â€ª#â€ŽLamuâ€¬ County.
A title worth 500,000 Acres of land was allegedly ‘revoked’. This was followed by the statement that these lands were ‘acquired specifically for speculation purposes’ targeting the lapsset project project.
To tie this illegal acquisition – or grabbing – and blame the current crisis in Lamu for it, an angle was added to it; thus, ‘500,000 acres of public land which translates to 70 per cent of land available for settlement was allocated under dubious and corrupt circumstances’.
If the claim is that this grabbed land – 70 per cent of it – is ”public land”, question is, how then can it be ”available for settlement”? Even more egregious, can it be true that up until 2011 70 percent of land that had all along been ”available for settlement” was still idle and unused.
We all should believe the President, that’s if he is not lying. Is he?
The other way you can look at the President’s statement is to sum up its disjointed parts. It will be something like “500,000 Acres of PUBLIC LAND available for SETTLEMENT was GRABBED in a year (between 2010 and 2012).
Was this land ‘available for settlement’? Assuming it is, or will be successfully repossed by the Jubilee government, will it be ‘available for settlement’? Remember, the president did not promise so yesterday.
Two difficulties arise in comprehending the president’s yesterday message.
One, the message only talks about the size of the land and the number of entities – twenty-two – which own it ‘illegally’, as they acquired it ‘dubiously and corruptly’, which is ‘untenable and unacceptable’.
â€œThis level of impunity revealed by the audit is unprecedented, untenable and unacceptable,” Uhuru said, The Star wrote today in their lead story titled, ‘Uhuru Recovers 500,000 Acres of Lamu Land.
The other difficulty is that the reason given for this revocation appear to be that locals (all locals) will be ‘resettled’ on it.
â€œMany thousands of families living in this county occupy only 30 per cent for their dwelling and agriculture,” the President said jana ‘nyt’. Will these thousands of families be resettled on this ‘recovered’ land? Public land? I am not sure.
Between 2010-2012, Orengo revoked THOUSANDS of illegal title deeds, many which belonged to to top PNU politicians and powerful state wheeler dealers. A story in Daily Nation under the title ‘Govt revokes 345 irregular land titles’ (8/12/2010) and The Star ‘Title deeds revoked within Lamu Port site’ adds credence to this claim.
You will notice that to exaggerate their yesterday ”breakthrough”, the Jubilee government is magnifying’ the “land size” but has been very silent on the number of title deeds.
Also, wasn’t it weird to call in ‘other agencies’ to ‘investigate’ this ‘criminal conspiracy’ (sic) with the view of arresting and prosecuting those culpable? I thought 22 entities had been found (guilty)?
If you think the revocation is as easy as calling a presser in the wee hours of the night, ask James Orengo. Wait for the court battles. Remember, this is part of what ‘speculators’ who ‘grabbed’ these lands expected – potential government compensation.
In 2011, when these grabbing sprees were going on, minister Orengo had to protest through a letter to the Attorney General that the courts were quashing his land revocations and riveting the titles back to their ‘illegal’ owners at an alarming speed.
“Following the revocations a number of aggrieved parties have moved to court and obtained orders quashing the revocations. . .the speed at which these cases are being heard and determined taking into account how slowly the wheels of justice have been grinding on other matters is a matter of concern. . .”
In short, whenever Orengo revoked a title deed, the courts, in most instances, would quash the revocations.
Take for example the case of former Lamu West MP Fahim Twaha whose six land title deeds, including a sand dune land said to be the only source of fresh water in Lamu, were revoked by Orengo in 2011. He got his parcels back.
Politically, Orengo paid dearly. Not only was the Lands ministry underfunded (who was the Finance Minister?) with low budget allocations, despite raking in billions for the government, in certain instances, there were open sabotage. This will be for another day.
So these dates, for the Lamu grabbing, serves purely propaganda purposes. James Orengo was the Lands Minister. In other words, Raila Odinga – their usual scapegoat – was the Prime Minister. It completely removes from view other actors in land adjudication, including the then Attorney General and the courts and powerful civil servants who were more powerful than Orengo in lands issues – what was the name of that Lands PS again?
The dates serve to put Hon. Orengo at the centre of the Lamu land grabbing, or purport that Hon. Orengo, as then Lands Minister, did nothing to stop land grabbing in Lamu specifically, and Kenya, generally.
The facts points the other way. And the facts must be adduced within the political context in which Hon. Orengo served. Beyond the minsiter, who were the other actors? What was the minister’s role?
As usual, populism would demand that ‘we’ blame ‘them’. However, the legal politics around this 500,000 revocation is just beginning.
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This morning I was telling PM Odinga that there are so many kikuyu youths at Industrial Area Remand Prison, some accused of hawking contrabands. He told me if we can successfully increase the county allocations as we are proposing in the coming referendum, counties will be able to absorb more youths to reduce the rural-to-Nairobi City migration and avoid the spectre of having so many kikuyu youths ‘being kept’ in jail for lack of better opportunities. I told him many other things. He told me much more. We agreed that youths must treat this referendum as their future employer, and then elect better managers in 2017. UWINJO JAKOM?