NLC commissioners last hope for saving country from plunder
There was a time when many of us thought things would really get better. Decades of struggle gave birth to a new Constitution, progressive institutions, an inspiring bill of rights and half dozen commissions to give redress if our rights were trampled on again.
How foolish and naive we were to believe, however, that police would stop killing citizens, that the mafia would disappear into oblivion and that corruption would be a distant memory of an ugly period in the nation’s history. Corruption has evolved and been devolved. A whole new generation of politicians have been initiated into the vice. The extent of the dam corruption is overwhelming, shameless and bottomless. One is tempted to give up or to be on the lookout for a rocket launcher.
What we have discovered in 2019, however, is that this administration is most definitely the most corrupt, confused and incompetent that the nation has witnessed since 1963. While its own house is on fire and looted from within, Jubilee heaps the fault on the Judiciary for crimes of the Cabinet. Instead of taking an honest look at its burning embers it is blaming its neighbours for the arson. It seeks to absolve the arsonists and terrorise fire fighters.
Jubilee is well on the way to self-destruction as we witness looting of a nature never seen before. Yet, it is only the infighting and occasional leaks in the two kitchen cabinets that allows us to get a brief view of the extent of the rot as one faction claims the other stole more than them; you grabbed KQ/KAA while we only got a few dams, and so it goes. Yet a ceasefire on disclosures is probably around the corner.
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Meanwhile, we recently said good bye and good riddance to commissioners of the National Land Commission (NLC) whose term of office has reached a disgraceful end. Like their partners in crime at IEBC we managed to discover some of their criminal behaviour only because they fought over the loot, tenders and compensation that came their way. It is now hoped that if DPP Haji is preoccupied with the dozens of other cases on his desk that civil society organisations will speedily take private prosecution cases against those who most failed the public in protection of public land and money.
Failure to address the looting of public land for half a century has established a pattern whereby politicians and their cronies after taking possession of every green patch in the republic then raided the parastatals, Eurobonds and now mega contracts with any foreign company whatever colour they or their money may be.
Yet, fifteen years ago Paul Ndungu and his team investigated the theft of public land and presented Kenyans with a way for redress that successive regimes have conveniently ignored. The Ndungu Commission of Inquiry into illegally and irregularly acquired public land revealed that there were 200,000 illegal titles amounting to 4 million acres in the hands of thieves. We just didn’t get a report but several weighty annexes listing lands illegally acquired and naming the culprits who stole everything from government houses to prison farms and then used fake titles as collateral to acquire further loans to expand their enterprises.
One of the mandates the team of Mohamed Swazuri failed – probably deliberately – to complete was an audit of all public land. Most of the work had been done by the Ndungu Commission but NLC found more productive activities in the opportunities presented to them in compensating beneficiaries and friends over the mega projects that Jubilee established. The amount of public land repossessed and the number of titles revoked then were a mere handful. Yet, the Ndungu report like the TJRC report remains untouched because the mega land thieves still run the country.
Soon Kenyans will be offered the opportunity to apply to succeed the Swazuri team. There are a handful of brave, competent, battle hardened individuals who must throw their hat into the ring and put the future of this country before professional ambition or personal security.
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If the angels protect them and they survive the vultures and the selection committee they could be the last hope for saving this country from eternal plunder. We cannot talk of solving the housing problem without addressing the land question. We cannot even talk of historical injustice and transitional justice without repossessing stolen land. Would those people of honour and honesty please step forward!
- [email protected] @GabrielDolan1
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ConstitutionJubileeNLCNational Lands Commission