Archive 2003


Wednesday, October 1, 2003 

Sanctity of land title deeds 
causes major clash


Conflict over the interpretation of the law took centre stage with MPs differing with Lands assistant minister Orwa Ojode on repossession of irregularly allocated land.

MPs led by Mr Simeon Nyachae (Nyaribari Chache, Ford People) demanded to be told if the sanctity of title deed as enshrined in the Constitution was no longer recognised by the Narc Government in its pursuit of illegally allocated land.

Mr Nyachae said if the law was properly followed, title deeds once issued could not be repossessed.

"We want to be told if the title deeds issued by the previous government have become useless documents," Mr Nyachae said.

House Speaker Francis ole Kaparo said MPs had a legitimate concern because Kenyans were worried about the legality of their titles.

But Mr Ojode, while in agreement that the title deed was sacred document, said the Government had powers to cancel letters of allotment to plots allocated irregularly.

Earlier, Mr Ojode had declared that the Government would repossess Kenya Wildlife Service land allocated irregularly in Mpunguti Ya Juu, Mpunguti Ya Chini and Kisite in Shimoni, Kwale District.

Mr Ojode said the allottees, among them former MPs Boy Juma Boy and Kassim Mwamzandi, Nasoro Juma and Mr Bakari Ali Kasirani, had already sold the land to third parties.

He was answering a question from Mr Abdallah Ngonzi (Msambweni, Narc) who wanted to know when the land would be returned to the local people since it had been irregularly allocated to well-connected people.

Mr Ojode also announced that the Ogiek community would be given title deeds by December. He was responding to a question by Mr Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi, Kanu).

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A New Ray of Hope

Mon., Oct. 13, 2003

Kenya is a nation of approximately 30 million inhabitants on the East of African coast. It nestles in a chequered neighbourhood that includes Sudan and Ethiopia to the north, Uganda to the west, Tanzania to the south and a beautiful coastline of the Indian Ocean to east. To the northeast is the Somalia. Its capital, Nairobi, is at the centre of the country and is one of the largest cities in Africa with a population of 3 million.

Kenya is blessed with a climate to envy. Most of the country’s temperatures range between 20 degrees and 32 degrees all year round. Its terrain is no less impressive. The magnificent view of the Great Rift Valley stretches kilometres on end right across the length of the country. The variety of animals and plants is one to behold.

70% of the country is arid and semi-arid land. Its economic mainstays are agriculture and tourism. The main crops grown are tea, coffee, cashew, maize, sugar and pyrethrum. The per capita income of the country is approximately 300 dollars.


The haven-of-peace reputation that the country enjoys belies its often-violent history. In a nation of 42 tribes, its “pre-exploration” history is one of tribe fighting tribe and clan fighting clan for various reasons including sheer domineering, cattle rustling (a habit that persists to date) land and natural resources such as lakes and rivers. The scales of damage of these inter-tribal wars, pale in comparison to the arrival of foreigners from the mid 15th century.

Kenya’s struggle for independence began from the very instant that communities were forcibly evicted from productive lands. However these resistances were initially never more than skirmishes between colonial police and one or a few Africans with the Kenyans almost always on the receiving end.

Organized resistance begun with the emergence of educated Africans after world war one. Most of it was underground operating under the guise of clubs, unions or such “acceptable” organizations. They were surprisingly very focused on issues such as access to education for Africans, land ownership rights and tax rates. Their struggle however turned violent after the Second World War. With their newly acquired military skills, they organized communities into military units and launched a guerrilla war that eventually forced the onset of independence.

It’s Politics

The nation attained independence on 12th December 1963. The first head of state was the legendary Jomo Kenyatta. The people of Kenya received his government with euphoria and hope. He set out with a socialist agenda that envisioned a country free from the triple tragedy of disease, ignorance and poverty.

Realities of running a nation were soon to interrupt the dream. Power struggles ensued between the ruling and opposition parties. Solution? Consolidation of power within the presidency. Kenya soon became a de facto one party state (KANU). All power was vested with the presidency robbing the judiciary of independence, election of mandate and the government of legitimacy. Opponents were detained without trial while real threats were “eliminated”. Cronyism thrived and with it, its inevitable bedfellow corruption. But Kenya was the darling of the west thanks to the cold war. Donor funding kept pouring in while government excesses were rarely questioned. Capitalism was wholesomely embraced without any inconveniences of socialism whatsoever.

With the death of the Kenyatta in 1978, hope fell on the then youthful Daniel Arap Moi, Kenyatta’s long-suffering deputy. The nation was euphoric at the energy and seeming inclusiveness of the Moi government. The bubble however burst with an unsuccessful coup attempt by the air force in 1982. Moi consolidated power within the presidency in much the same modus operandi as his predecessor; the loss of independence of other institutions of governance.

If the preceding regime made poor governance, the Moi regime excelled at poor governance. The grand looting of state coffers was not only acceptable, but those appointed to positions within the Parastatals were expected to contribute to the ruling party’s war chest “by any means necessary”. Political opponent were jailed, tortured and eliminated without the inconveniences of judicial process. Single party rule meant political doom for those disagreeing with the often-ridiculous party policies. Case example is where the party disciplinary committee summoned a cabinet minister because “he did not applaud enthusiastically enough” after a presidential speech at a public rally.

With the fall of Russia as a super power, good governance again became an issue for the west. The then Kenya government faced increasing criticism from its former paramours. The opposition to single party rule thus became emboldened and by the end of the 1990s, the clamour for multi-partyism was organized, effective and drawing civil society support. Even the detentions without trial and torture chambers could not stop the hunger for democracy that had taken root among Kenyans. The KANU regime had but to accept multi-party democracy with the first multi-party elections in 1992.

In 1992 and 1997 elections, an opposition fragmented along tribal lines handed back power to KANU. The looting of public coffers continued with impunity. In 2002 a wiser opposition united behind a single candidate and humiliated KANU. The current government of NARC party currently enjoys enormous goodwill among Kenyans and has made the fight against corruption its primal objective. Despite inheriting a shell of a treasury, the government has managed to seal most haemorrhages of public money, clean up the judiciary and is leading a constitutional review process. Much as the current government has its fault, it place in history is reassured as the government that
Restored Kenyan’s faith in themselves and in the government.

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