No gag on land issue, NCIC clarifies

February 8, 2013 4:47 pm
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The NCIC and the Inspector General of Police had requested politicians to gauge comments made surrounding land/FILE
The NCIC and the Inspector General of Police had requested politicians to gauge comments made surrounding land/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) now says it will not take any action against politicians who bring up the emotive land issues in their campaigns.

Although he admitted that such talk risked spanning ethnic tensions, NCIC chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia told journalists on Friday that the only thing the commission can do is speak out against such campaign tactics.

He added that the commission had fulfilled its responsibility and that it was up to the politicians to comply or ignore its call.

“We don’t want the issue of prosecution or courts. We are appealing to common sense that says we don’t want Kenyans to fight each other on such an issue,” he said.

“It is now the duty of all Kenyans to heed that call or decide not to heed it and we wait and see what happens. I hope for the best but I have disposed my duty,” he quipped.

Kibunjia at the same time asked politicians to wait for the establishment of the National Land Commission and forward their claims there, saying that rallies were the wrong forum for raising any arguments.

He further dismissed allegations that his commission’s position was driven in favour of one of the coalitions.

“All those who are clamouring over this issue served in the Cabinet together for five years. They should have asked each other those questions that are now causing disharmony, then,” said Kibunjia.

The NCIC and the Inspector General of Police had requested politicians to gauge comments made surrounding land.

Their advice however fell on deaf ears as politicians continued bringing the subject matter up, accusing the NCIC and the police of attempting to gag freedom of speech and expression.

Those allied to the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) as well as those in the Jubilee Alliance, have been counter-accusing each other of land grabbing.

Lands Minister James Orengo was caught on record saying that Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto were responsible for some of the historical land problems facing the country.

The police have also been urging politicians to refrain from making claims of a ploy to rig the election because it risked inciting the public.

Acting police spokesman Charles Owino said the police, the IEBC and other key stakeholders were actively working to ensure credible polls.

“Let people stop rumours that the election is going to be stolen; that there is going to be violence… the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and even the police have put their best foot forward,” he told journalists on Thursday.

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