NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 4 – Siaya senator James Orengo now says the real land grabbers in Lamu County include a former Provincial Commissioner and some relatives of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The former Lands Minister says he is being targeted as a scapegoat, but is willing to appear before the authorities if required to do so to defend himself.
Orengo who spoke to journalist on Monday also released over 800 names of people he claims have acquired land illegally in various parts of Kenya over the years.
“I want to say before you without any fear of contradiction and with a clear conscience that before I talk the matter at heart, that me James Orengo the Senator for Siaya on the basis of my record in the struggle to bring about reforms in the country, that I will be the last person with a free conscience to do the kind of things that I am currently being accused of,” he declared.
“In fact, I would dare people who are making statements when they can tell the people of Kenya directly that I do not own a piece of land either by proxy, directly or indirectly… the only land that I have is in the area of Ugenya.”
He said: “There would have been opportunities for me to even buy or even acquire land in many parts of this country but I decided on my own choice that one of the thing I should keep off is trying to buy land however legitimate it may look.”
Orengo says among those on the list of alleged land grabbers is Deputy President William Ruto.
“This is the list (of 800 grabbers) that is bringing me trouble, and in this list you will not find the name of Senator (Boni) Khalwale there but you will find the name of the Deputy President (William Ruto), not one piece but several pieces of land that I revoked (belonging to him).”
He said the greedy land cartels belong to what he called ‘the Moi orphans’ who are agitated by reforms he undertook as a Land Minister.
On Lamu, he insisted the real problem did not happen during his tenure but are historical injustices.
“The issue of Lamu is not about 2011-2012. What people of Lamu are complaining is about illegal allocation of land to the high and mighty.”
Senator Khalwale who accompanied Orengo claimed that the Government was using land to settle political scores.
“Kenyans are not idiots, they know what is happening now is merely a smoke screen so that more land can be grabbed in Lamu by the old cartels… the old network,” he claimed.
“The people, who lost to NARC in 2002, were the spiritual and ideological orphans of President Moi and are now regrouping.”
He noted that the said people come from across the country including his own county.
Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohammed also asked the Government to implement the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report saying that, “What is being implemented now is called politically compliant Ngilu land report.”
He alleged that title deeds that will be revoked in the ongoing purge will be awarded to senior politicians after two years.
The Government however insists it only wants to resolve the land issue in the country refuting claims that the move was politically motivated.
On Monday, Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu said Raila Odinga’s faction of the Grand Coalition Government was in charge of LAPSSET (Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor) and should provide answers for whatever went wrong in Lamu.
“Did Raila know this was happening? Would he accept to do this? This is crazy… Did this happen under his watch? It is shameful if it happened under his watch. Did we give so much land to a few at the expense of the poor?” she wondered.
She was speaking in Mombasa during the closure of the land registry office for an audit.