, Bearing false testimonies against innocent mortals is not only unlawful but also sinful before God, the creator of mankind. But in Kenya, the contrary is the norm not the exception. Some of the falsehood peddlers against leaders and defenceless individuals are no lesser persons than those who bear the titles of honourable.
Of late, the former head of State, President Daniel arap Moi has grabbed headlines as one of the key beneficiaries of irregular land allocations in the regional water tower, Mau forest. Mau forest is currently under threat of desertification by mindless settlers, charcoal traders and timber merchants. Lakes and rivers whose sources have been Mau are drying up as a result of the wanton destruction of the forest.
Contrary to accusations Moi does not bear the tag of a land grabber in any part of the Mau forest yet his detractors insist that he is among the grabbers. He has since broken silence on the nagging question of land ownership at Kiptagich where a tea factory stands. He admitted that he owns land in the vicinity outside the forest whose deal was above board, according to records.
Moi, then Vice President like any other Kenyan made a formal request to the Narok County Council for a piece of land in the forest periphery in 1978. The County Councillors then, under the chairmanship of National Heritage minister, William ole Ntimama deliberated upon the request at a full Council meeting and resolved to allocate the land under the council’s jurisdiction to Moi. Ntimama became an MP later and was named minister for Local Government by Moi.
It was unthinkable then that a person under siege from a notorious tribal chauvinists could summon the courage to influence or use his office to acquire property in the country as alleged by detractors. The group was on a campaign trail for the law to be changed to bar vice president (Moi) from succeeding the ailing President Kenyatta in situations of inability to exercise the functions of that office.
Thirty one years later, Moi is being accused of irregular acquisition of the forest by forgetful or rather malicious leaders amongst whom were his appointees to the cabinet. Surprisingly, some of the accusers claim that they were arm twisted to allocate former vice president the land.
Like any other leader, Moi may have had his shortcomings in the office but that does not license his successors and political enemies to peddle falsehoods against the man who led the country for 24 years. After all, he has had enough of these humiliations. It can be recalled that goons on hire threw mud at him during the handover in 2002. Moi deserves both respect and an apology from the media and present day leaders.
Mau has been at the centre of political storm that threatens to tear apart senior partner in the coalition government. Most of the Orange Democratic Movement Kalenjin MPs have threatened to abandon the party led by Prime Minister, Raila Odinga over Mau evictions come 2012 when the country is due for another general elections in which the premier could be looking for votes nationally.
While the reforestation of Mau is engulfed in controversy, the gesture is welcome for many reasons chief among them is our justification for hosting of a UN specialised office. Kenya, as the permanent home of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) should be a model on environmental conservation and not destruction as is the case today.
(The writer is a former Cabinet Minister and national official of two major political parties)