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Governor Kingi quizzed over incitement claims

By Patrick Beja | December 11th 2019
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi

A State agency has questioned Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi over alleged incitement in his Madaraka Day speech at the Karisa Maitha grounds in Kilifi town.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) claims the governor delivered an incendiary and inciting speech when he addressed residents on the history of landlessness in Coast before and after independence.

The governor denied the accusations, maintaining that he simply raised issues of historical injustices on land at the Coast that have been captured in history books and reports of several commissions, including that of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

He was represented by lawyer James Orengo, who said the governor had only explained that there has been no mechanisms through which to resolve land issues at the Coast.

Mr Kingi, who appeared before the commission in Nairobi on Monday, was also accompanied by Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, Kilifi North MP Owen Baya and Magarini MP Michael Kingi.

The governor was summoned to appear before the commission through a letter dated December 2, this year. The letter was signed by acting commission secretary Millicent Okatch.

The commission has a Swahili version of the alleged speech by Kingi linking the widespread landlessness at the Coast to pre-independence and post-independence failures to resolve the land question.

The speech claimed former Coast political leader Ronald Ngala was cheated by founding President Jomo Kenyatta not to wrestle colonial masters in Coast region to get land for the locals, leading to the squatter and eviction menace in counties in the region.

The commission claimed that the alleged utterances could incite locals against certain land owners at the Coast.

But Kingi noted that Coast has a painful history of injustices on land that should be talked about in order to find a solution.

“I gave the historic account of the injustices on land that is contained in history books. I wonder why this is regarded as incitement. All the utterances I made are in history books. Even if I keep quiet, people still read the books. If it is wrong to reiterate what is in history, then these books should be burnt,” he said.

Mr Orengo, who is Siaya senator, said the land question at the Coast was not addressed after independence and that was what Kingi had raised.

“In the coastal region, issues of absentee landlords are still unresolved and most of the people are landless. All that is in government records,” Orengo argued.

Ms Jumwa claimed the summoning of Kingi was part of intimidation of Coast leaders who raise land issues that have affected the people.

Land question

“Governor Kingi is a leader who was explaining issues of land to the people. When we come out to talk about the land question at the Coast, we are being intimidated. This makes us suspect there is a hidden agenda,” Jumwa protested.

The legislator said Coast leaders expected the government to pay attention when they raise land issues that are of concern to local residents.

Mr Baya said contrary to the claims of incitement, Kingi was recently given an award to celebrate his championing of cohesion and integration.

He argued the governor belongs to a community that has suffered historical injustices on land that government should address instead of questioning him when he raises the problem.

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