Tuesday, April 6, 2010

KENYA GOVERNMENT MUST ENSURE FAIRNESS IN RESETTLING INTERNAL REFUGEES

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo

Many Kenyans are in suspense whether proper valuing was done on the Rongai land before it was purchased by the state to resettle internal refugees.

It is hard for the nation to be convinced that the DPM, Uhuru Kenyatta never influenced the purchase price for the 1171 acre farm since it’s a family asset besides him being in charge of our national exchequer.

Transactions of this nature must be carried out with a lot of transparency and accountability because if the land belongs to the Minister for Finance’s family, then there is a big conflict of interest whose sum total is likely to be a rip off to the Kenyan tax payers.

We don’t want to see a recurrence similar to the Grand Regency sell although the hotel was under- valued and sold to foreigners.

No nickel was spent to buy the huge tracts of land the former first family owns equivalent to the size of Nyanza but the land was acquired by the late president through the worst form of power abuse in post independence Africa .

There is nothing to celebrate about the former first family and in fact, if they were philanthropic, they will be the last people to sell 1171 acres to the state and later distribute it to Internal Refugees. It does not reflect any humanity on the plight of the IDPs but a yardstick to build political mileage for Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta who augurs Presidential ambitions.

This brings to the fore the question of how charitable many rich Kenyans are. Just recently, when the USA President Obama won the Nobel Peace price, he decided to have the prize money that comes with the coveted award all donated to Charity.

He didn’t keep silent to use the money for his re-election campaign slated in 2012 but to help his fellow Americans who are far much better economically that Kenyans. Our leaders should emulate this form of domestic philanthropy.

Back to the plight of our Internal Refugees, the operational etiquette of the grand coalition government is often very weird. The nation was recently told by the Minister for Lands Honourable James Orengo of an impending exposure of those who grabbed state owned land.

This was followed by the admission by the same Minister that the state lacks the legal mechanism to repossess some grabbed land.

We must understand that there is nothing hard for the government of the republic of Kenya if its mandate is to protect and advocate for what is beneficial to the Kenyan people.

When the Narc government repossessed KICC from KANU back in 2002, nobody raised eyebrows. That is why many Kenyans still belief that the government has the moral authority to execute the same moves to reposses grabbed land and put it on the hands of the state.

We are being treated by the theatrics of the old order. Kenyans expected honourable James Orengo who has carried the torch for reforms in Kenya for decades to advocate for the release of the Ndungu Land Report so that Kenyans will know the truth.

This is the opportune time for the Ugenya legislature to prove to Kenyans that he still stands for reforms that Kenyans have always known him for. The MP should be the last person to advocate the purchase of land by government from grabbers.

Both Orengo, Uhuru Dr. Naomi Shaban must tell Kenyans the aspects surrounding the land purchase deal since national assets do not belong to politicians but Kenyans.

It’s noble to ease the burden of the internal refugees but the exercise must be done with impartiality and as a nation, we want to see transparency and accountability in managing public affairs especially public expenditure.

We want to know the criteria used to select the victims who have been resettled in the1171 acre farm in Rongai, noting that it’s not only one community that suffered during the post election violence.

We want to see Kisiis just like Kikuyus displaced from Kisumu and parts of Rift Valley resettled as well as all Luyias and Luos displaced from Central and Rift Valley provinces resettled if our leaders are prepared to nurture reconciliation in our nation.

Focussing to alleviate suffering for one community while leaving others will not help to heal the nation but ignite more animosity amongst Kenyan communities.

The latest imbroglio on resettling Internal Refugees is likely to be a storm in a tea cup as the government prepares to evict illegal settlers from the Mau forest. The evictees are going to demand the same treatment which has been extended to the internal refugees in the 1171 acre farm in Rongai.

This is a serious challenge that the government needs to address in order to perpetuate uniformity especially on addressing the problems that bedevil the entire nation across the board.
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