Kenyan churches oppose draft over land

May 26, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – Civil society organisations now claim that the church is opposing the proposed Constitution because of the land reform purge that is likely to follow a positive referendum outcome.

Under the “multi-sectoral committee of the Yes campaign” argued on Wednesday that the church and political leaders were using doctrinal excuses as a smoke-screen to shield the main reason behind their opposition.

National Convention Executive Council Secretary General Cyprian Nyamwamu alleged that the church stands to lose vast tracts of land that were acquired under questionable circumstances.

“Both the clergy and politicians own land that was obtained unlawfully. Who gave the Catholic Church the land where they have built the convent in Mau forest? Several other parcels of land have been given to the AIC church; from the Rift Valley to Eastern province. We want to know who gave them this land,” he charged.

Mr Nyamwamu added that a new Constitution would reduce land leaseholds and limit the president’s power to doll out public land to well-connected persons. This, he argued, did not settle in well with some people and organisations.

“The National Land Commission is now clear and that is why the land chapter has come under such attacks,” he said.

Former Kibwezi Member of Parliament Kalembe Ndile who was also present asked Kenyans to be vigilant saying they should not be hoodwinked by the recent attempts aimed at derailing the constitutional review process.

Mr Ndile said that the proposed law would help Kenya achieve her reform agenda and that challenges such as Monday’s ruling on the Kadhis’ courts and the inclusion of a controversial clause on national security at the Government Printer in the proposed Constitution should be ignored.

“We have always heard cases of fake money being printed but that has never stopped us from buying goods; so whatever confrontations face this process we must remember that at no point will parliamentarians ever fight corruption. Let us carefully analyse those opposing the new Constitution,” he said.

Center for Multiparty Democracy Vice Chairperson Alice Wahome also said that the ruling was shrouded in mischief maintaining that it would have no effect on the process or outcome of the referendum.

She also claimed that the Judiciary was being used by influential forces.

“I would not say that they are being used by the Clergy but there is a bigger hand. This Judiciary is a stakeholder in the draft and its stakes are very high. Kenyans have been treated to radical surgery that was half baked and fairly not conclusive,” she said.


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