Kenya PM hits out at land grabbers

May 18, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya May 18 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has accused land grabbers of championing for the rejection of the proposed Constitution because they fear to account for illegally acquired property.

Speaking at the Ministry of Lands headquarters where he commissioned a new banking hall, Mr Odinga said the Constitution would instead address inherent land problems in Kenya.

“We are trying to correct the problems that were committed by the ancient regime and we are dealing with those who were involved in that regime in the grabbing process. That is why you are seeing resistance to this Constitution on the basis of the Chapter on Land; there is nothing else, it’s people who are trying to protect their ill-gotten wealth at the expense of the public,” he said.

He said the Chapter was adopted from the Bomas Draft adding that it would revolutionalise the land ownership system in the country by ensuring equity and effective land management.

Mr Odinga said that land grabbing and inequitable ownership have been problems that Kenya has grappled with.

While supporting an Article in the draft that would see Parliament put a limit to the maximum and minimum land holding in the country, the PM said the quantum for landholding would accelerate economic recovery and development of economic stability.

He said the Grand Coalition Government was committed to deliver its pledge of a new Constitution.

Mr Odinga said: “this Grand Coalition Government was never credited with any kind of success but now as you can see it is moving on; they say the stone that builders rejected became the cornerstone.”

The Premier said the government would address cases of speculators who frustrate investments and government projects by hoarding parcels of land and then selling them to State agencies and other investors at exorbitant prices.

Mr Odinga said it was ironical that land where the “institution of justice, such as courts of law, can be grabbed and matters end up in court and you find the court ruling against itself.”

Lands Minister James Orengo notified people who acquired public land earmarked for construction of roads, public recreation facilities, church compounds and those who bought land based on allotment letters only, that they would face the law.

“And I want to say without pretence, that a lot of the people who are against the Chapter on Land have many questions to answer in so far as public land is concerned,” he said.

He said cases of alienation or allocation of land vested in the republic or dedicated for public purposes, was the order of the day.

”In the next two to three weeks, we will start handing back the land to their respective,” said Mr Orengo.


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