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It was a day of shame in the Tower of Babel

By | September 21st 2009 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenyans have selective amnesia. They have been cheering on the lynch mob that is the august House, having forgotten that their MPs do not, like normal citizens, pay tax.

As Parliament dealt body blows on the Executive, the citizenry cheered with glee as one would when a bully gets his comeuppance. But no one seemed to recall that the new liberator is a con and a bigger bully.

With the whole nation shivering over the anticipated slaying of Justice Aaron Ringera, the Mau mess sneaked into Parliament. Kalenjin MPs met as a community.

Central Kenya MPs followed suit. And when the so-called Mau report landed on the floor of the House, it was amended and patched up to the extent that it now resembles the bare Mau Forest it is intended to save.

The result? Parliament ordered the Government to follow the law, which means ‘squatters’ who are the proud owners of as much as 1,000 hectares of land must be compensated. Never mind that the same MPs have not seen it fit to compensate IDPs who were routed from their legally acquired property.

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This parliamentary law is indeed an ass.

No one said where money for resettling illegal Mau squatters would come from, though — hardly surprising since MPs don’t pay tax.

More ridiculous is that someone expects foreigners to foot the bill yet it is not uncommon for the US ambassador to be ordered to "shut up — just shut up!"

For once, old Bill Ntimama was on the right side of history. He fought like a wounded lion, but who was listening?

Fellow elder John Michuki pitched into the battle, aided by the youthful Amos Kimunya. They could as well have been speaking to stones. The die was cast.

Tribal spat

The most shameful thing, however, is that with very little exception, the battle to save Kenya’s most critical water tower was reduced to a tribal and political spat.

Initially, it had seemed that ODM representatives outside the Rift Valley would stand up for the truth but political expediency got the better of them and they went mute.

Equally, it’s a big shame that not a single Rift Valley MP had the guts to stand up and call the Mau saga the smelly spade it is.

Who is Rift Valley’s successor to former legislator Chelegat Mutai? Isn’t there a Rift Valley leader eager to wear the nationalist shoes of one-time Deputy Speaker Jean-Marie Seroney? Where are the Masinde Muliros, the Bildad Kagias and Jaramogi Odingas — men who put their political careers on the line for an ideology and national good?

John Michuki said he was ashamed to be a member of Bunge and with good reason. If that grizzled warrior was the one living on the house on the hill, illegal squatters would be cooling their heels in jail, not burning charcoal in Mau and waiting for compensation.


Justice Aaron Ringera parliament mau forest
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