Moi owed an apology over Mau

January 15, 2010 12:00 am

, 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)


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