We will fix land laws that Jubilee messed up, says Raila

Tuesday June 20 2017

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga, flanked by ODM legislators, addresses the media at his office in Nairobi on June 19, 2017.

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga, flanked by ODM legislators, addresses the media at his office in Nairobi on June 19, 2017. He accused the government of messing up land ownership in Kajiado County, saying land laws had hurt the community. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga has dismissed as absolute nonsense the rising calls for his arrest over remarks he is alleged to have made last week, insisting that his government would address land ownership laws, which he accused the Jubilee government of messing up.

He said  the National Super Alliance government will implement the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report and the National Land Policy to resolve historical injustices on land.

Mr Odinga said calls for his arrest were a waste of time and maintained there was nothing he said at Maili 46 in Kajiado West Sub-County, Kajiado County, that would amount to incitement.

“Investigate what?” scoffed Mr Odinga. “There is nothing I have said that requires investigations.”

CHEST-THUMPING

At a press conference in his Capitol Hill office in Nairobi, Mr Odinga also asked Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery to stop chest-thumping and “saying things that are not true”.

Mr Nkaissery on Sunday revealed that Mr Odinga was under investigation by State agencies.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, however, appeared to have softened his stand, demanding that Mr Odinga issue a public apology.

Mr Odinga said he read malice in the calls, pointing out that just two days ago President Uhuru Kenyatta, while issuing title deeds to IDPs in Kiambu County, asked residents not to sell their land.

“Jubilee Party is sensationalising the comments I made because they have messed up with the land chapters of the Constitution and also because scaremongering is the only campaign tool they are left with,” said Mr Odinga.

COMMUNITY LANDS

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader was accompanied by the party’s MPs Elijah Memusi (Kajiado Central) and Mathew Lempurkel (Laikipia North) and Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong.

The former Prime Minister dismissed the Community Lands Act 2016 as a mockery and a defective legislation incapable of protecting the land rights of marginalised communities.

He said it had downplayed the roles of county governments and the National Land Commission (NLC) in the administration and management of lands and the powers instead vested in the Cabinet secretary for Lands.

“The Jubilee government wants these lands to remain available for sale, even when they are being sold in breach of trust,” said Mr Odinga.

“The sales are dispossessing future generations of marginalised communities, particularly the Maasai people.”

EQUITABLE SOCIETY

He said to build a fair, just and equitable society, Nasa would pursue community land rights through the recommendations of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report, which has detailed measures to tackle the poverty that was pushing the communities to sell their ancestral lands.

He said the National Land Policy, which provides the jurisprudence and framework for the chapter on land, addresses historical land injustices perpetrated against the communities in Rift Valley, central Kenya and the Coast and the challenges facing marginalised and indigenous communities.

“Unless the Constitution is amended, the land question cannot be wished away,” added Mr Odinga.

He pleaded with those who are registered as proprietors to stop selling land that they hold in trust, urging them to put the interests of the young Maasai people first because it is for them that they hold the land.

Mr Memusi said the issue raised by Mr Odinga affected the Maasai and urged Jubilee to stop politicising it.