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Public land must revert to rightful owners

By | October 1st 2010

It is always a good thing to see a wrong righted, more so when it is a minister doing it. Which is why the gesture by Lands minister James Orengo to revoke the title deed of Mt Elgon Hospital should be commended.

There was a time in the history of this country when political appointees in parastatals and other State enterprises saw their positions as a chance to ride on the backs of the poor and uninformed, stealing land and other resources, and getting stinking rich in the process.

A network of corrupt civil servants, including members of the Provincial Administration, facilitated the impunity, which began in Government and cascaded downwards.

Today we are still suffering the effects of their greed. And it is this culture of impunity that the new Constitution seeks to end.

The new laws, if properly implemented, will make it harder for the Executive arm of Government to dish out public land and forests to favoured individuals as some form of reward.

A member of the board of Mt Elgon Hospital is said to have warned that such action as revoking title deeds could lead to chaos.

ignorant buyers

We have heard such threats before and it is precisely this kind of careless talk that fanned the 2007-2008 post-election violence.

Such individuals should be held to account and asked to explain themselves. Illegally acquired land belongs to the State and must revert to the rightful owners.

Ideally, they should also be taken to court in cases where they have sold the same land to ignorant buyers.

This impunity must end.

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