The land issue and Raila politics

From the epoch of time, land has been the primary source of production. Empires, nations, communities, clans, and families have fought over land.

This is simply because the population of the world is increasing while the size of the land remains the same. The enclosure act of 1845 in Britain was the first major land ownership law in modern democracy.

The Kenya colony was declared in 1920 and effectively enclosing the land mass that we now call Kenya. Before, Kenya was part of the British East African protectorate.

The struggle for land in Kenya can be traced from the time of Sir Charles Elliot with the Masai agreements of 1901 and 1904.

These agreements marginalized the masai to dry areas of the rift valley while colonialist took the fertile land the likes of Lord Delamare. Land in many other parts of Kenya were taken up by the colonialist and later the home guards after Kenya gaining independence.

All these issues are captured in the TJRC [ Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission]. But one might want to ask, why didn’t the kibaki government and now the Jubilee government refuse to implement the TJRC report? The reason simply is that land issue in Kenya is very emotive and implementing the report would open a can of worms that can flare into a civil war.

The question that one will ask, why did Raila bring up the land issue in Kajiado, why has he constantly enticed the pastoral, coastal and marginalized communities with TJRC report? Is it for political expediency? Is it for genuine concern for these people?.

One thing that comes out clear, why did Raila decide to bring up this issue in a charged political rally in Kajiado where the land issue is highly emotive? Why couldn’t he have articulated all this in a more civilized manner in his manifesto?

Just a few days earlier Raila had stated that when he comes to power he will dismantle the Laikipia ranches and give the land back to the community. The Times reported on Monday that the Nasa principal who is also Orange Democratic Movement leader had vowed to “dismantle” white-owned ranches to control violence.

“These ranches are too big and the people don’t even live there, they live in Europe and only come once in a while,” The Times quoted him as saying. “There’s a need for a rationalisation to ensure that there’s more productive use of that land.”

On Monday 18th June 2017 Raila held a press conference where he read a statement on the remarks he made in Kajiado stating that he stood by what he had said.

At the press briefing, besides him was Elijah Memusi representing the Masai and Matthew Lempurkei the Laikipia North MP who had been arrested earlier for urging the local people to invade white owned ranches in Laikipia.

What does one conclude from a such a conference when Raila parades land warmongers at his conference?

One surprising thing is that no single NGO, or Kenyans who value peace in our country stood up to castigate Raila other than the Jubilee fraternity.

There is this silent conspiracy that whatever the opposition does however evil, callous or imbecilic is never condemned. Selective amnesia is the norm here.

The Gusii community have had a long-standing battle with the masai over land in Transmara.

The majority of outsiders living in Kajiado are the Kisii and the Kikuyu. By Raila using the land issue to mop up the emotions of the Masai communities against these two tribes is a recipe for chaos. For Raila, it’s all about the numbers.

Use the land issue among the pastoral , the marginalized and  coastal people and have them as your votes at the expense of peace.

To him the end justifies the means! Unless Kenyans come out and condemn any utterances that is divisive aimed at dividing Kenya, when things will go wrong we should blame ourselves. Whether it’s Jubilee or NASA who make inflammatory statements should be rebuked in the strongest terms.

Raila’s utterances in Kajiado was devoid of any redeeming value but rich in potentially destructive connotations.


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