Kenyan activists protest Mau payoffs

December 20, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20- A civil society organisation has said that it will move to court this week to seek an injunction against the intended payout of billions of shillings as compensation to powerful people with huge tracts of land in the Mau Forest.

Kenyans for Justice and Development Convener Okoiti Omtata said on Sunday that they would meet with their lawyers on Monday to draft the texts which they would present before the court by Wednesday.

“We are not going to stand by and be spectators when our scarce national resources are being abused and looted and we are going to do whatever is possible to stop it,” he stated.

Mr Omtata was reacting to reports appearing in sections of the media which indicated that about Sh2 billion will be paid out to high profile individuals holding approximately 2,220 hectares of land in the water catchment area.

The activist said that doing so meet would amount to rewarding wrongdoers which is unacceptable.

“The money in the public coffers does not belong to the government. It belongs to the people of Kenya and the government is just a trustee and that’s why we are going to block any attempt to pay these people from the public coffers,” he emphasised.

He added that the government had also failed to follow the necessary procedures in the intended pay offs.

“The procedures are; they must publish a sessional paper or a white paper in Parliament where our representatives sit and peruse that paper and where they find a reason for that money to be paid, then it can be paid,” he explained.

He added that the Sh2 billion payout was likely to be transferred to the Public Debt Register which currently is above the Sh1 trillion mark and which would further burden Kenyans economically.

In this regard, Mr Omtata said they would also demand to have the Register published- for the first time since independence- to help determine the debts that should be repaid by the public and those that should be settled by government officials in both the current and past regimes.

“We want it to be published so that we can know what money was borrowed since 1963, what work it did, who benefited and if the beneficiaries are the regimes and the individuals in that regimes,” he said.

“We are going to say that under the doctrine of odious debt such debts cannot be paid by Kenyan citizens before they next benefited the public,” he added.

Mr Omtata spoke during a press conference where the organisation called upon President Mwai Kibaki to act immediately and decisively in the corruption case involving the embezzlement of the Free Primary Education Funds.

Together with other colleagues from the organisation, the officials asked the President to sack all the officials at the Ministry of Education who are responsible for the scandal and those that failed in their oversight role including the Minister and his Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi.

“President Kibaki must make an example of this case by acting in a resolute manner that will leave no doubts in our minds that we can rely on him to combat corruption,” Convener Patrick Ochieng said.

He said stern action should be taken against those implicated in the looting and they should be made to refund all the stolen monies.

“Those who betray public trust by engaging in corruption, by raping this country, don’t deserve to be spared the appropriate punishment,” he said.

Mr Ochieng called upon all Kenyans to stand up against such ‘saboteurs’ and defend the future of children.

More than Sh8billion is said to have been ‘lost’ in the scam where some ministry officials have been pocketing funds meant for various schools.


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