Leaders want Sh200b kitty to address sticky land problems

Maa community leaders, led by Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku and his Narok counterpart Samuel Tunai, arrive at a BBI delegates conference at Maasai Mara University grounds yesterday. [Robert Kiplagat, Standard]

Land issues will take the centre-stage at the fifth edition of the Building Bridges Initiative consultative forum in Narok today.

And the meeting could be marred by tribal affiliations, after a group of leaders from the Kipsigis community yesterday stormed out of a meeting, accusing the organisers of sidelining them.

“We are going to have a press conference later. For now we feel sidelined as members of the Kipsigis community because none is willing to give us a chance to air our proposals as residents of Narok County,” said Deputy Governor Evalyn Aruasa.

Speaking after the meeting to discuss resolutions to be endorsed today at the Narok Stadium, the leaders said land taken away from the Maasai community should be given back to them.

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“That a commission of historical land injustices and contested communal land claims be established to implement reports of task forces and land related commissions, including the Ndung’u Land Commission, Njonjo and the TJRC with a 10 to 15 year window,” reads the recommendations.

The community leaders also recommended that a kitty of Sh200 billion is set aside for the implementation of the reports.

The memorandum by the leaders will be read at the rally by Narok Governor Samuel Tunai and his Kajiado counterpart Joseph ole Lenku.

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The memorandum that was read to the delegates by former IEBC Commissioner Thomas Letangule, from Ilchamus, cited dispossession of the Maa of their trust land in Laikipia, Nakuru, Kedong Ranch and Oldonyo Ng’iro in Isiolo.

Earlier, the Kipsigis had complained that the meeting at the Maasai Mara University was being conducted in the Maa language, thus limiting their participation.

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Aruasa, Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno and MCAs Jefferson Lang’at (Ololung’a), Wesley Koech (Sagamian), Sammy Kositany (Ailmootiok), Philemon Aruasa (Melelo) and Gabriel Mibei (Angata Barikoi) said they could not continue being part of a setting where they were not needed.

ODM leader Raila Odinga is expected to grace the event. On Thursday, Raila, who is spearheading the BBI public consultative forum, had warned coordinators of the rally against sidelining participants.

“Given the cosmopolitan nature of the seven counties to be represented at this meeting, I urge the coordinators of the two-day event to ensure participants reflect particularly the ethnic and occupational diversities of the counties to include ethnic minorities, herdsmen, farmers, women and the youth,” he said in a statement issued by his spokesman Dennis Onyango.

Apart from land matters, the community has resolved to back a parliamentary system of government composed of an executive prime minister and two deputies. They suggested that a minority community should be represented in the top leadership.

The Maasai leaders will also push for a rotational presidency between the majority and minority communities to promote equity.

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They have further proposed the creation of Indecent Indigenous People Authority to look into the affairs of the marginalised communities. On management of shared natural resources, the Maasai would be seeking a 25 per cent share of resources generated from what they described as establishments previously at the heart of Maasai land such as Amboseli, Nakuru and Tsavo National parks.

They want the parks put under county governments so that the community can benefit from a share of the revenue generated.

Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine was missing at the deliberation but Lenku said the suspended county chief had sent his apologies.

Other leaders present were MPs Kanchory Memusi (Kajiado Central), Katoo ole Metito (Kajiado South), Lemanken Aramat (Narok East), Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West), Korei Lemein (Narok South), Senator Ledama ole Kina and Samburu East MP Naisula Lesuuda.

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