The Clamour for a New Constitution Series: Hon. Paul Muite, a Former Legislator and Senior Counsel at the Kenyan Bar, Takes Us on a Historical Journey Through the Painful Struggle to Reclaim Democratic Space in Kenya After 46 Years of Derogation of Fundamental Freedoms of the People, and Dictatorial Impunity. This Informative, ‘must-watch’, Series in Six Parts is Now Available on the Internet

The clamour for a new Constitution Series: Hon. Paul Muite, a former legislator and Senior Counsel at the Kenyan Bar, takes us on a historical journey through the painful struggle to reclaim democratic space in Kenya after 46 years of derogation of fundamental freedoms of the people, and dictatorial impunity. This informative, ‘must-watch’, series in six parts is now available on the Internet.

Part One

Paul Muite, a former legislator and Senior Counsel at the Kenyan Bar, reminds Kenyans that they inherited a good Constitution at Independence. About 40 amendments to the Constitution created an imperial presidency under Jomo Kenyatta.  The powers were inherited by Daniel arap Moi who completed the absolute derogation of fundamental freedoms by establishing a one party State and criminalising opposition. The slide away from the Independence Constitution towards a dictatorial constitutional order was characterised by political assassinations, detentions without trial and rampant elite corruption.  By the first years of the 1980s Kenya was ripe for an uprising.  Hon. Muite talks of illegal detention of human rights defenders and political assassinations by the State and how and why the Judiciary ceased to be independent and became a tool for abuse by the Executive.  The period is 1963 to 1983.

Watch part one of the series here: http://marsgroupkenya.org/marstv/?v=ZtG9bePklEM

Part Two

As the Daniel arap Moi regime became more oppressive, torture chambers were established in the provincial administration headquarters, Nyayo House on Kenyatta Avenue bordering Uhuru highway in downtown Nairobi.  Moi’s political slogan was Nyayo (footsteps in Kiswahili) signifying his overt continuance of Jomo Kenyatta’s policy.  By a 1982 constitutional amendment Kenya was made a one party state under KANU and all political opposition was prohibited and suppressed.  So, democratic activists innovated.  Using the international media and professional associations they started to expose the arap Moi dictatorship for what it really was, and to encourage Kenyans to assert their right to democracy. Moi fought back, viciously. Hon Muite continues his narration in part two of this six part series. The period is 1982 to 1990.

Watch Part two of the series here: http://marsgroupkenya.org/marstv/?v=JxM6XZZIMu2

Part Three

Crack down! Setting up a Democratic opposition in Kenya involves creating a united front of unlikely bedfellows, politicians led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenneth Matiba, Charles Rubia, Masinde Muliro, the Church and the Law Society. Swoops, mass arrests and detention of lawyers and democratic activists is Arap Moi’s reponse to the formation of opposition pressure groups – most famously, FORD the Forum For Restoration Of Democracy in Kenya. The period is only one year 1990-1991. Democratic  activists confront and challenge Moi head on suffering economic ruin, torture, exile and an uncertain future as international geo-politicial shifts in priority give Moi an unexpected fresh lease of life.

Watch Part three of the series here: http://marsgroupkenya.org/marstv/?v=eQfQw2XfJRs

Part Four

Paul Muite recaps the history opportunists capturing the reform struggles from the 50’s into the first decade of the 21st century. It is a cautionary tale against political dynasties and advocating that Kenyans need to act in their enlightened self interest. Land, freedom and the perpetual search for justice.

Watch Part four of the series here: http://marsgroupkenya.org/marstv/?v=k8MxxJSFyR2

Part five

Human Rights violations and persecution of democratic dissenters have taken place in Kenya since 1964. Never have there been so many extra judicial executions as have taken place between 2006 and 2009 under Mwai Kibaki. “ People tend to live in two worlds” It is a shame that so many Kenyans tolerate and even support violence by the State against its citizens all in the name of law enforcement. Paul Muite talks about the orgins of the mungiki, and its political connections.

Watch Part five of the series here: http://marsgroupkenya.org/marstv/?v=Ypmd/eT3dnE

Part Six

It is naïve to expect reform without reformers. Judge the prospects for a new Constitution this time round by the performance of the executive and Parliament in implementing the National Accord. There is a strong case made for immediate essential reforms to avoid a Constitutional crisis today and to make it possible for the next election to be democratic free, fair and peaceful. The period is now. What if there was a vacancy in the presidency today?

Watch Part Six of the series here: http://marsgroupkenya.org/marstv/?v=ge940D4zNY2

Kenya’s Corrupt Elite Under Threat, Reports Guardian Journalist Xan Rice

Kenya’s Corrupt Elite Under Threat, Reports Guardian journalist Xan Rice

Wednesday December 2nd 2009

In his Kenya diary, Guardian journalist Xan Rice reports on how a decision by the prosecutor of the international criminal court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to investigate the 2008 post-election violence in Kenya threatens the corrupt elite

Disputed poll...violence after the presidential election of 2008. Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

Disputed poll...violence after the presidential election of 2008. Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

When someone complains about the state of Kenya today, human rights lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee breaks into a mischievous smile and tells a story from the 90s. President Daniel arap Moi was backing out of promises to review the constitution, and Nowrojee had gone to complain to Mwai Kibaki, then the most senior opposition figure. Kibaki listened and shrugged. “Kenya yetu,” Kibaki said – “Our Kenya”.

This was meant to suggest this was just the ways things were, so why waste time getting angry about it? But coming from a politician it meant, for the ruling elite, the country has always been theirs for the taking. And aided by a weak, complicit judiciary that has since independence virtually guaranteed senior politicians immunity from conviction, they have taken a lot.

Those at the very top of the political pile usually took the most. The family of the first president, Jomo Kenyatta, stole so much land they made the original white British settlers look like petty thieves by comparison. Succeeding Kenyatta, Moi grabbed land too, but did more damage by stealing epic sums of government money through bribery and graft schemes. He also helped take lives by inciting ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley over successive elections in 1992 and 1997.

But now the days of Our Kenya may be under threat. The person threatening to cut through the bonds of impunity is not Kibaki – who broke his promise to do just that by condoning massive corruption by his ministers after taking over from Moi in 2002. Rather it is an Argentinian lawyer who first earned fame by helping send senior members of his country’s military junta to jail.

Last week Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the international criminal court (ICC), requested the court’s pre-trial chamber to allow him to investigate the 2008 post-election violence in Kenya. At least 1,133 people were killed – either by police or members of other ethnic groups – after Kibaki dubiously ­triumphed over his presidential rival and current prime minister, Raila Odinga.

Ocampo’s decision to pursue the case has received overwhelming support from the Kenyan public – and sent shock waves through the government.

If the ICC judges give the go-ahead, Ocampo will focus on three or four cases, likely to include top members of both Kibaki’s and Odinga’s parties who are alleged to have organised ethnic killings.

Ocampo has insisted that “impunity is not an option” if loss of life in subsequent Kenyan elections is to be avoided, and that the country will serve as a “world example on managing violence”.

How the case came to Ocampo is illustrative of how Our Kenya works. After former UN secretary general Kofi Annan persuaded Kibaki and Odinga to come together to form a coalition government – and end the violence – they agreed to form a commission of inquiry into the post-election chaos. It was headed by a Kenyan judge, Philip Waki, who concluded that  a special local tribunal, incorporating some foreign judges, should be set up to try those most responsible for the chaos, including senior politicians. As happened with virtually every other commission established to look into some sort of high-level malfeasance in Kenya, the report’s findings and recommendations were largely ignored.

But Waki was smart. In his report, he said that if no local tribunal was established he would forward the names of the main suspects via Annan to the ICC, which he duly did in July.

Cue the panic among senior government officials. The Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR) had publicly already named several cabinet ministers for alleged involvement in the 2008 violence. One of them was Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Jomo, and the current finance minister and deputy prime minister, who was accused of supporting Kikuyu militias.

Another was William Ruto, the agriculture minister, who was alleged to have incited Kalenjin gangs. Both strongly deny any wrongdoing. Kenyatta had already taken the KNCHR to court to try to clear his name. Ruto subsequently announced in November that he was also pursuing legal ­action against the KNCHR.

The two men, who both have strong presidential aspirations and are extremely wealthy, then came together to form an alliance.

From outside the move may have seemed positive – leaders from the Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities leading the way on reconciliation. But the ­alliance appears to be purely political, meant to guarantee that one of the two is Kenya’s next leader, continuing the Kikuyu-Kanlenjin hold on power (Kenyatta was Kikuyu, Moi is Kalenjin, Kibaki is Kikuyu), to the exclusion of Kenya’s 40 other ethnic groups. Solidarity in case they appear in Ocampo’s sights is likely to be another motivation.

“Our Kenya” is under threat, but it is not done

http://www.guardianweekly.co.uk/?page=editorial&id=1366&catID=17

Daniel Arap Moi is Up for Eviction – Kenyans Don’t Be Fooled Reject These Nyayos

Kenya has had imperial presidents since Independence.  All have started out as men of little means and ended up as tycoons.  Every one knows the history. Jomo Kenyatta’s home in Gatundu was a community project, because he had lost years to jailing and detention, and yet he died as the country’s single largest landowner.  All Parliament’s during his presidency remained silent, and the few Kenyans who challenged his acquisitive style found themselves in detention or worse.  The genesis of what we colloquially call the land grabbing mania of Kenya’s political elite was epitomised by the Kenyatta era.  His successor Daniel arap Moi continued this trend and the land corruption of both eras has been extensively documented in the Ndungu Commission of Inquiry Report of 2004, which should be recommended reading for all Kenyans.  The Ndungu Report is itself corroborative of the Kombo Select Committee Report of 2000.  Read them both.  The Mau Forest story is there.  So it’s not at all ironical that among the potential evictees from the Mau complex is a certain large scale tea farmer from Kiptagich who once was the President of Kenya and the leader of Uhuru Kenyatta’s political party KANU.

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(picture of Kiptagich and Mau Forest map)

Kiptagich Tea Estates Limited owned by Arap Moi is prominent in the Ndungu Report.  But Moi did not limit himself to environmental destruction he also specialized in financial corruption on a massive scale which is described in the Kroll Report on the Looting of Kenya which together with the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry Report details presidential misconduct and misrule by Daniel Arap Moi which impoverished Kenya for decades to come.  It appears that Moi’s tenure at Kiptagich may be ending soon.  Writing in the Standard on Sunday newspaper, Juma Kwayera claims that the Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s communications office issued a despatch as follows:  “On Monday we are sending emissaries to Moi to surrender the Kiptagich Tea Plantation or we take it by force.”  That’s fighting talk but what remains true is that Daniel Arap Moi has no right to profit  another day more from a tea factory that he illegally set up for himself by abusing his presidential prerogatives for his own personal gain.  Kenyans should not be confused by the hypocritical and emotional calls by Uhuru Kenyatta, Zakayo Cheruiyot, Franklin Bett, William Ruto, Mutula Kilonzo and Kiema Kilonzo for poor people’s taxes to be used to compensate large scale land grabbers such as Daniel Arap Moi.  Kenyans don’t be fooled; reject these Nyayos as you did in 2002. It is really to Daniel Arap Moi’s aid that the revived KANU / Uhuru Kenyatta 2002 (or 2012) Presidential Campaign is rushing.  Watch this Video: Ten Ministers attend Mau fundraiser

Elements of the neo-KANU leadership are desperate to avoid having to face the poor people they deceived into believing that the Mau land they were being given had legitimate titles.  Moi is simply trying to keep his tea farm.

Kiptagich Tea Estates Limited factory

Kiptagich Tea Estates Limited factory

Our authority for the accusations against Moi is Mr. Paul Ndungu who chaired the Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Land Grabbing (Ndungu Report).  In July this year he publicly stated that the Kiptagich Tea Estates farm is on illegally grabbed forest land, and that his Commission recommended in 2004 that the Government repossess the stolen land which Moi remeined in possession of.  Below his complete interview with the Nation.

How grabbing of forest land started

MAN WHO CHAIRED COMMISSION ON ILLEGAL ALLOCATION OF LAND TELLS OF THE GENESIS OF THE MAU PROBLEM By SAMWEL KUMBA, Daily Nation Friday, July 31 2009

It all started in the mid 1980s as a well-meaning campaign to settle the landless. The government, under President Daniel Moi, decided that the Ogiek community should not be homeless anymore. They were to be resettled permanently where they could be provided with social amenities such as hospitals and schools. That is how the government ordered an excision of part of Mau Forest Complex, made up of 22 forest blocks, for settlement.

Mr Paul Ndung’u, who chaired the commission on illegal and irregular allocation of public land, told Saturday Nation that it was in the process of carving out land for these settlements, that corruption crept in. “Instead of carving out say, 2,000 hectares, those handling the exercise would excision 10,000 hectares and allocate the extra hectares to themselves and other influential individuals in government,” said Mr Ndung’u.

KIPTAGICH
Mr Ndung’u gives an example of Kiptagich settlement, to which some residents from Baringo were moved when their land was taken for construction of a college. Kiptagich, in the southern part of Mau Forest, started as a very small settlement scheme. And since the area was virgin land and close to the tea growing zones of Kericho, the new arrivals also ventured into growing tea.

According to Mr Ndung’u, President Moi, while touring the area, realised tea was doing very well and conceived of plans to expand its production. He got himself a huge chunk of land and grew tea. “The tea growers used to deliver it to the factories near Kericho which was not only far but through very bad road network. Eventually, Mr Moi decided to build a private factory there for them,” said Mr Ndung’u. The Ndung’u Commission found that the excision of Kiptagich Farm from Trans Mara Forest in 1988 was illegal.

The report’s verdict was that former President Moi’s children, who were illegally allocated land, including former Baringo Central MP Gideon Moi and his wife Zahra, Raymond Kiprotich, Doris Choge and Jonathan Toroitich, should return it.

And an audit report of the Mau forests by the Committee on Land Ownership and Resettlement matters appointed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, which has already been approved by the Cabinet, shows that beneficiaries of the Mau allocations were never the Ogiek people. According to the committee of the prime minister’s task force on the conservation of the Mau forests, correspondence revealed that land in the Mau was allocated by public officers and provincial administrators who had no legal authority to allocate it.

Later in 1997, the government decided to establish in Nakuru another settlement scheme – Olenguruone and extension of Kiptagich for which 1,812 ha were set aside. An interview of a former Commissioner for Lands by the Ndung’u Commission revealed that the intention was to establish an outgrower tea zone for Kiptagich Tea Estates, sitting on 937.7 ha of land.

All these excisions had not been gazetted.

Other settlements established without de-gazetting the forest included South West of Mau to establish Saino, Ndoinet, Tinet among others, and Eastern Mau to establish Sururu and Likia. In the 1990s group ranches were ordered to subdivide their land among members. The directive also applied to land buying companies and cooperatives. A few ranches bordered the Mau forest. In the process of subdivision of ranches, they encroached into forest land, and subdivided it as well. This is when the settlements on the Narok and Trans Mara side of the Mau started. But some was given to, mainly Maasai’s, who sold their portions to mostly the Kipsigis, for as low as Sh10,000 a hectare.

Mr Ndung’u says that because all the settlements were created in the forest before it was de-gazetted to farm land, everything was done illegally. “It does not matter who gave the directive, including the President… the titles should be revoked, everybody should be evicted and the forest to be replanted,” he said.

A picture showing the destruction in the Mau forest

A picture showing the destruction in the Mau forest

Worst Case Scenario: Parliament Should Prepare to Be Asked to Amend the Constitution to Allow Mwai Kibaki to Rule for Life!

WORST CASE SCENARIO: PARLIAMENT SHOULD PREPARE TO BE ASKED TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TO ALLOW MWAI KIBAKI TO RULE FOR LIFE!

“There is no worse heresy then that the office sanctifies the holder of it”

Lord Acton in a letter he wrote to scholar and ecclesiastic Mandell Creighton, April 1887 (thank you Rama Nyang (KTN) for the quote!)

Today Tuesday 14th September 2009 Parliament plans to try and assert itself over KACC.  As we hope for the best it is wise to caution that the problem with this Parliament is that it has become a facilitator of impunity by its repeated inaction when faced with law breaking Executive behaviour. For example, it has failed to commence a forensic audit into the National Budget and Public Debt that it unanimously ordered in May this year, while allowing the Executive to make foreign payments on a fictitious fertiliser factory in the 2009/2010 budget. If Parliament were working it would have demanded an explanation as to why the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission’s Annual Reports did not contain sections on investigation into the Ken Ren Fertiliser Factory scandal which has about 4 billion shillings of public funds at risk, and which was initiated by Mwai Kibaki, in the 1970’s when he was Minister for Finance. The debt for this bogus factory reappeared in the External Public Debt Register when Mwai Kibaki took office in 2003; and since then Kenyan funds have been paid into two private banks in Austria and Belgium annually.  Parliament knows that we have no fertiliser factory and this scandalous affair has been public knowledge and comment by the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga since November 5, 2007.

As the Ringera debate takes place, one thing that Kenyans should know is that our Members of Parliament have a history of selectively allowing the Executive to break the law.  In terms of bogus external debt repayments this leaves innocent Kenyans indebted by the very same Parliament that they elected to represent them, and to watchdog the Executive, and in particular the President.  Sadly the two year National Accord Government has broken all records of recurrent expenditure and waste with Parliamentary acquiescence – even as millions of Kenyans face starvation.

Parliament has also allowed the Executive to waste Billions of Shillings, while Kenyans continue to go hungry. Parliament says that KACC is a waste of money and they must protect taxes at all costs. But who is fooling who?

It is apparent that the President Kibaki believes he cannot break the Law – a view shared by his Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Vice President and his half of the cabinet. His defiance of law started way back in 2003, and in September 2009 we see him on television sneering at a High Court Ruling which has declared almost 200 districts, he created, illegal. Incredibly he is even heard to say that were it not for his government’s cash constraints he would create more.  Today there are more districts than electoral constituencies – more District Commissioners than Judges – and all of these District Commissioners work for the Office of the President.  How Parliament tolerates this undemocratic expansion of the Presidency is beyond comprehension.  Worse it is apparently the duty of the wananchi to provide office and residential space for district staff who have nothing to offer them in the first place.

The President can never break the Law and poor wananchi must always pay for it

Kenya has had imperial presidents since Independence.  All have started out as men of little means and ended up as tycoons.  Every one knows the history. Jomo Kenyatta’s home in Gatundu was a community project, because he had lost years to jailing and detention, and yet he died as the country’s single largest landowner.  All Parliament’s during his presidency remained silent, and the few parliamentarians who challenged his acquisitive style found themselves in detention or worse.  The genesis of what we colloquially call the land grabbing mania of Kenya’s political elite was epitomised by the Kenyatta era.  His successor continued this trend and both eras were extensively documented in the Ndungu Commission of Inquiry Report of 2004, which should be recommended reading for all Kenyans.  The Ndungu Report is itself corroborative of the Kombo Select Committee Report of 2000.  Read them both.  The Mau Forest story is there.

kk

(picture of Kiptagich and Mau Forest map)

Kiptagich Tea Estates Limited owned by Arap Moi is also in there.  And the Kroll Report on the Looting of Kenya tells a story of misrule by Daniel Arap Moi which impoverished Kenya for decades to come.

Kiptagich Tea Estates Limited factory

Kiptagich Tea Estates Limited factory

Kiptagich farm workers plead for jobs – Nation Television – August 1st 2009

Kenya has had bad luck with its Presidents who have used violence and fraud to cow its Parliaments and citizen’s dissent.  Kenya has also been let down by its Parliaments who have failed to control Executive abuse.

Like his predecessors Mwai Kibaki also breaks the Law with impunity.  Setting an example for Kenyans that our country is the land of impunity, where the rule of law applies only to those who do not hold public office.  Did you know that the Ringera Gazette Notice is not the first such Gazette Notice related to the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission which has been suspect?  Two years ago he even made an amnesty law without parliamentary approval.

THE MOI DAY AMNESTY FOR ECONOMIC CRIMES

On Moi Day, 10th October, 2007 President Mwai Kibaki signed his name giving his assent to a new Section 25A of the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act which authorized the cessation of investigations by the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission. The problem is this was done wholly without parliamentary approval or authority as required by the Constitution of Kenya. In effect the President legislated and made Kenyan Law alone – an unconstitutional and illegal act. Section 25A has not been repealed.  One day because of it the cause of justice for the people of Kenya will suffer, and the government will have an easy way to abandon the investigation of all corruption and economic crimes.

Section 25A reintroduced the rejected idea of amnesty for corruption and economic crimes. It allowed the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) in consultation with the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Attorney General to give undertakings including to the subject of corruption investigations not to institute or continue with investigations against any person suspected of an offence under this Act.

This new Section 25A helpfully created a new defence for corruption suspects to use in avoiding the legal consequences of their crimes. The so-called undertakings contemplated in clause 25A amount to an unsolicited offer (to every corruption suspect) of an amnesty and yet a search of the public record shows that no part of Section 25A was ever seen, let alone debated by the Kenya Parliament. In fact there is no record of this provision in the Hansard.

Because of this clause Aaron Ringera, Amos Wako and Mutula Kilonzo because of the offices they hold can constitute themselves as an amnesty committee for corruption suspects.

In our considered opinion KACC’s Director the Attorney General and the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs lack the public mandate to forgive anybody, particularly in view of the total collapse of the institutional war on grand corruption over the last five years since Anglo Leasing reared its ugly face.

Kibaki always plays politics with issues.  Especially those relating to high level corruption and impunity.  An example of presidential double speak includes that in giving his assent to Section 25A President Kibaki ignored his own Memorandum to Parliament dated September 27th 2007 in which he rejected an attempt by Paul Muite’s Committee on the Administration of Justice to create a cut-off date for KACC investigations when he wrote that “Amnesty is however a major policy and public interest issue which cannot be addressed within the context of this [Statute Law Miscellaneous Amendments] Bill and which can only be addressed through a separate comprehensive Bill.”

President Kibaki changed his mind two weeks later and gave his assent to a clause which Parliament never proposed or debated. By October 15th 2007, the very same Bill that President Kibaki had said was an unsuitable legal basis for amnesty for grand corruption and economic crimes was published by the Government as an Act of Parliament containing a secret and deliberate amnesty clause.

According to the Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 100 (Acts No. 7) dated 15th October 2007 Section 25A has commenced in effect. Our last question is who put it there and why did the President sign it?

Section 25A has already been operationalised and these 3 public officers (Aaron Ringera, Amos Wako and Mutula Kilonzo) must publish the names of any persons who have been offered conditional forgiveness. They stand reminded that Kenyans are aggrieved by the high levels of grand corruption and impunity amongst our political and business elite.

But section 25A is not alone – at the same time in 2007 a similarly suspicious clause (section 56B) was inserted into the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act to provide for the KACC to terminate investigations into corruption by ‘out-of-court-settlements’.  The very first beneficiary of an out of court settlement under this illegal section 56B was Kamlesh Pattni the architect of the Goldenberg financial fraud. The settlement signed by Fatuma Sichale, KACC’s (recently re-appointed) Assistant Director, entailed the abandonment of all claims by the Central Bank of Kenya against Kamlesh Pattni in return for the surrender to the KACC of the Grand Regency Hotel. The hotel was subsequently turned over to the Central Bank which has since sold it to ‘Libyans’ in controversial circumstances that are allegedly under investigation even by Parliament.

Imagine what’s next! The National Accord and Reconciliation Act? Is it not possible that an illegal Amendment to the National Accord and Reconciliation Act will find its way into our laws? Shamelessly commentators such as Jerry Okungu are now suggesting that a Kibaki-Third-Term is possible.

International Community Must Act Now And Decisively

The message to the Government and Parliament is that it is time to be serious, Kenyans have had enough and our options are not limited to asking nicely!  The messages to the international community are act decisively and act now. Much of our loot is in your countries and your laws prohibit proceeds of corruption and crime from being enjoyed.  Seize these assets to prevent their use in subverting parliament and democracy in Kenya.  The Kenyan people will be the complainants in any legal proceedings necessary if they are facilitated with technical support.

“I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.” John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton, Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence (London: Macmillan, 1907). http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/2201/203934

Waking Up and Suddenly Smelling the Coffee: Similar Amendments As Those Proposed in the Current 2009 Finance Bill, Impoverished over 700,000 Coffee Farmers Who Support over 3.5 Million Kenyans and Are Today Living in Abject Poverty.

A Report of the Mars Group Kenya.

In March 2009, a riot broke out at Kenya’s second largest University because students were not allowed to sit their final examinations unless and until they came up with the year’s fees – One Hundred Thousand Shillings (US$1,250). 

Kenyatta University, named after Kenya’s first President, is located in the heart of Kenya’s coffee rich Central Province and during the tenure of its founding father Jomo Kenyatta (1963-1978) it would have been unimaginable that the children of coffee growers wouldn’t have the money to pay for a year’s fee.  Kenyans, when I grew up, used to be awestruck by the good fortune of those privileged Kenyans who grew ‘black gold.’

Coffee, one of the most popular beverages in the world, is also a valuable tradable commodity internationally.  Coffee futures’ trading occurs at the New York Stock Exchange where washed Arabica coffee futures contracts are bought and sold by financial speculators. 

It is estimated that there are over 700,000 Kenyan coffee farmers today.  Kenya is a leading producer of Arabica coffee yet its small holder farmers are amongst the poorest Kenyans due to bad governance and oppressive regulation in the coffee value chain which has spawned a dealer’s and marketing cartel which has distorted price and market forces to their advantage at the expense of the small growers.   This happened in 2005, when amendments to the industry’s basic statute The Coffee Act (introduced through the annual Finance Bill which details taxation measures) radically altered the balance of power between coffee farmers, regulatory institutions and the trading market to the disadvantage of the farmers. 

A SKETCH HISTORY OF COFFEE IN KENYA

Coffee was introduced to Kenya by the Holy Ghost Fathers Catholic Order which first farmed coffee at what is now Saint Mary’ Boy’s School in the Lavington area of Nairobi.  In colonial times, coffee was a political crop and Africans were denied the right to plant it even though coffee production was a lucrative occupation for white farmers.  The right to plant coffee was a grievance articulated by among others Chief Koinange of Kiambu earning him punishment by the colonial authorities. 

When Africans were eventually allowed to plant coffee it was in two districts (Kisii and Meru) of the country where there was no competition with white farmers, and only on a prescribed experimental basis (limited to 100 trees a farmer).  White farmers formed powerful lobby groups that influenced the provisions in the first regulatory piece of legislation for the cash crop – The Coffee Act of 1933 – by ensuring that the legislation prescribed that farmers would be involved in the management of the coffee industry. 

Coffee farmers agreed to finance the operations of the various managerial, regulatory and research bodies which were created or given responsibility under the Coffee Act by way of a statutory ad valorem tax which the farmers themselves set voluntarily, they say, at the time the law was enacted.  It has always been their expectation that this ad valorem tax and the Coffee Act itself would not be changed without consultation with farmers, and for 7 decades this held true.  The ad valorem tax on the sale of coffee by farmers is 6% of the value of the coffee at the point and time of sale.

This farmers’ representation system ran from 1933 until the Coffee Act was amended in 2001.  Established under the Coffee Act was the Coffee Board of Kenya, which had the following functions:  regulation of the coffee industry, marketing and sale of Kenyan coffee, promotion of Kenyan coffee. 

Structural Adjustment and the Coffee Board

As Kenya’s economy declined in the 1980s, the Government accepted to institute the Structural Adjustment programmes of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund which among other things insisted that government should get out of business and abhorred state monopolies. 

The Coffee Board of Kenya which until that time had been responsible for both regulation and marketing of coffee was regarded as being inefficient and it was decided by the Government to amend the law to liberalise marketing and the auctioning of coffee to private players, leaving the Coffee Board only to perform regulatory and promotion functions.  The farmers participated in the discussions preceding the 2001 Coffee Act’s enactment, the last meeting for example took place at the Blue Posts Hotel and in attendance were all Members of Parliament from coffee growing areas.  Among them the current President Kibaki who represented Othaya constituency growers of coffee.  At this time also many of the most draconian provisions of the Coffee Act including the criminalisation of the neglect and uprooting of coffee trees were removed from the law.

Marketing Agents

The law once amended created new players in the industry called licensed coffee marketing agents who earned commissions on the sale of milled coffee.  They could be either companies or other bodies who signed marketing contracts with farmers.  To safeguard farmers section 24(1)(a) of the Coffee Act of 2001 required that marketing agents had either a bank guarantee of between 1 and 12 million US dollars deposited with the Coffee Board of Kenya; or one-and-a-half times the value of the coffee to be transacted during their operational year.  To prevent conflict of interests millers could only be marketing agents of they incorporated a new company with separate directors.  Presumably, millers could be investors but not directors of marketing agent companies.

Transition Period

The story of the transition period is instructive to demonstrate how vested interests can resist reform.  The Coffee Act was not operationalised on the day it was given presidential assent in its entirety.  Certain provisions were to be brought into force by the Minister for Agriculture and certain interim measures were to be taken during a transition period.  Unfortunately the length of the time period was not delimited and it ran for more than 8 years.  So the Coffee Board was prohibited from marketing coffee, and during the transition the three existing millers (SOCFINAF, Thika Coffee Mills and the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union) were appointed by law as the only licensed marketing agents in Kenya of coffee.

The Coffee Board tried to end this transitional oligopoly but was thwarted whenever it tried to completely liberalise the marketing of coffee by separating the role of millers and marketing agents.  Each Board that tried found itself attacked by political interests.  The KPCU initially even refused to incorporate a separate company as required by law.  The other two millers complied but their owners are the driving force behind the new companies albeit not as directors.  This raises the question of whether the conflict of interest safeguard actually worked.  Today there are several marketing agents.  During the same period dealers also started to insist that they too should be allowed to be marketing agents.

During the transition period there was also generally a policy of Government to reduce entry to trade or bureaucratic barriers to trade.  Targeted in this reform were the 11 licenses issued under section 18 of the Coffee Act by the Coffee Board, which were viewed to be too many.  They were:

  1. Category ‘A’ license to import and export clean coffee
  2. Category ‘B’ to import and export buni coffee
  3. Buni dealers license to export buni coffee from anywhere
  4. Marketing license
  5. Millers license
  6. Roasters license
  7. Auctioneers licence
  8. Warehouseman’s license
  9. Packers license
  10. Pulping station license

The 11 coffee licenses were subsequently reduced by the Licensing Laws Repeal and Amendment Act of 2007 to 4.  After this reduction of licenses dealers could play the role of selling and buying, creating a big conflict of interest.

European and World Bank Funds
Also during the same period there were funds disbursed by the European Union as Matching Funds, which were used not to benefit farmers but to benefit lobbyists of multinational dealers.  Under the Lome Convention a multilateral treaty that has since expired European funds on behalf of EU consumers were used to support coffee farmers and other agricultural commodity producers in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.  In the case of Kenya’s coffee farmers as fund of about Ksh 12 billion was made available to support Kenyan coffee production, claimed from Europe by the Government of Kenya on their farmers’ behalf. 

High-level corruption and obvious political interests saw most of this fund diverted to the cereals sector.  Apart from paternalism and theft the Moi regime had no pressing reason to economically empower farmers in the Central Kenya region, which he viewed as, and in actual fact was, oppositionist. 

A Ksh 2 billion revolving fund placed with the Cooperative Bank of Kenya also had unintended consequences for the unlucky farmers.  Loans were given to farmers, secured by their farm title deeds to secure working capital and farm inputs.  The Tanzanian version of this scheme (Stabex in bureaucratic slang) that worked better at the end of the day saw direct compensation in cash to the coffee farmers there.  In Kenya instead of giving the money to the farmers to buy input for themselves, the money was given to middlemen from whom farmers collected fertiliser and other inputs.  These inputs did produce a bumper crop, but as seen elsewhere this eventually depressed the price domestically for the Kenyan farmer.  The farmers’ loss meant that their title deeds were seized by the Cooperative Bank, and all over Central Kenya and Eastern Province farms are at risk of auction.  Conversely, pre-recession foreign owned coffee farms (SOCFINAF), which had easy access to cheap northern credit, didn’t suffer the same fate.  Whether they enjoy freedom from these debts waits to be seen. 

Many believe that over 10 billion shillings worth of the Stabex funds disappeared in shady rural electrification and road building schemes.  Only 135 million shillings can be traced to the investment in a tissue culture laboratory at the Coffee Research Centre.   That the Kenyan coffee farmer is no better off for these funds is a common opinion amongst farmers. 

The Second Window

In 2005 farmers wanted to sell their coffee directly, hence the idea of a second window.  This was opposed by the KPCU and the Minister for Cooperatives, even as it was supported by the Coffee Board of Kenya, which wanted another marketing chain, as did the Minister for Agriculture. 

The demand by the farmers was motivated by a price-fixing scheme in which dealers suppressed the auction price to as low as US$ 30 per ton while millers (often the same ownership as the dealers) charged farmers US$ 100 per ton to mill coffee delivered by farmers.  Farmers arriving at millers to collect their payments were presented with invoices for what they owed in milling costs because of the low price their milled coffee obtained at the auction.  Throughout this period the real world price for Kenyan coffee was never lower than US$ 300 per ton.  Records of the International Coffee Organisation show that the price paid for a cup of coffee by consumers remained stable, and the Kenyan auction collapse could not be justified, and indeed was only explicable as a pernicious scheme.

Agitation for direct sale by farmers was initially opposed by government and the established millers for obvious reasons – they didn’t want competition for the three millers that had been designated marketing agents.  But the logjam was broken by the entry onto the scene, supported by the highest levels of Government, of Tetu Coffee a coffee brokerage, which proposed to buy every bag of Kenyan coffee available at minimum guaranteed prices higher than those offered by the auction.  The proposal made to the Coffee Board of Kenya that almost cornered the Kenyan coffee market.  Tetu Coffee, owned by Job Kareithi a politically connected Kenyan living in Houston, Texas advocated direct gate-sales of with guaranteed minimums a policy which was eventually accepted after an inter-ministerial committee of seven ministries approved the policy.  The scheme failed because Tetu could not secure the monopoly it sought and after it was revealed the promoter was not financially stable. 

Nonetheless, farmers after the amendments to the Coffee Act, which were introduced in the Finance Bill of 2005, remained free to appoint any licensed marketing agent, and today there are over 100 such agencies operating at the auction which sells Kenyan coffee every week.  However only about 10 are really active.  But these were not the only amendments to the Coffee Act as will be seen later.

The Finance Bill of 2005

Every year the Minister of Finance introduces a Finance Bill as part of the budget to Parliament.  Debate on the Finance Bill in Parliament is usually restricted to taxation and revenue measures but for whatever reason during the final stage (3rd reading) of that year’s Finance Bill, Patrick Muiruri, MP for Gatundu, moved several amendments to the Coffee Act of 2001 including a radical recomposition of the Board of the Coffee Board of Kenya and other bodies responsible for policy and research related to Coffee.  Though his amendments were opposed by Martha Karua, Mr. Muiruri’s amendments held sway and section 49 of the Finance Bill did away with the farmers elected representatives on the Coffee Board of Kenya and gave the Minister of Agriculture to appoint as many persons as he deemed fit to the Board instead.  Three years later this amendment would provoke litigation as farmers felt disenfranchised of their rights to representation to the board and other bodies for the first time since 1933.  It is not clear what Government objective was to be met by this amendment as it ran counter to the whole basis of reforms which had been carried out in the coffee sector since the structural adjustment liberalisation phase of the 1980s and 1990s.

Coffee Board of Kenya Composition pre-2005

Coffee Board of Kenya Board Composition after Finance Bill -2005

8 elected representatives of cooperatives

As many persons as Minister of Agriculture deems fit based on interests and expertise in coffee

3 elected representatives of plantations

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Cooperatives
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade

1 elected representative of coffee traders

 

Permanent Secretary, Min. of Agriculture

 

Director of Agriculture

 

Commissioner of Cooperatives

 

Managing Director Coffee Board of Kenya

 

 

Coffee Development Fund Board of Trustees Composition pre-2005

Coffee Development Fund Board of Trustees Composition after Finance Bill -2005

5 elected representatives of cooperatives

6 persons appointed by Minister of Agriculture

3 elected representatives of plantations

Permanent Secretary, Min. of Agriculture

Permanent Secretary, Min. of Agriculture

Permanent Secretary, Min. of Cooperatives

Permanent Secretary, Treasury (Ministry of Finance)

Permanent Secretary, Treasury (Ministry of Finance)

Managing Trustee

Managing Trustee

 

Since they were being disenfranchised farmers opposed the amendments to the Coffee Act.  They convened a special general meeting of the Kenya Coffee Growers Association which is the premier farmers (small and large) lobby group in February 2006 and made resolutions to petition the Minister of Agriculture to respect their right to elected representatives as had been the case since the first Coffee Act of 1933. 

The Minister’s Appointments of September 2008

In July 2008, the term of the last elected directors of the Coffee Board of Kenya expired.  On September 25th 2008, citing a non-existent provision of law as authority for his appointments, William Ruto the newly appointed Minister for Agriculture appointed an 8 member Board for the Coffee Board of Directors, none of whom were coffee farmers, and many of whom were actually coffee traders, marketing agents and dealers.  There was uproar in the coffee farming circles but the Minister stood his ground.  Just before Parliament went on a Christmas break, a question was asked in Parliament by the Chairman of the Departmental Committee on Agriculture as to why the Minister had appointed the directors without reference to Parliament as required by the controversial amendments brought by the Finance Bill of 2005.  The Assistant Minister for Agriculture asked for two weeks to responds while conceding that the appointment procedure appeared not to have been followed.  The promised reply has never been brought to Parliament since that time, and the departmental committee does not appear to have any more interest in the matter.

The farmer’s complaint is two or three-fold.  They believe that the Coffee Act was amended by stealth through the last minute expansion of taxation measures in the Finance Bill of 2005 to radically reshape the composition of all elected boards on which they had representatives – every time to their disadvantage.  Further they believe that the current Boards are invested with conflict of interest and are suspicious of the high predominance of non-farmers and traders on the Minister’s list of appointees. 

Coffee Board of Kenya Director post September 25th 2008

Jeremy Block

Major Waluke Koyi

Eldad Riungu Mpengu

Mercy Wambui Kamau

Joseph Kipkemboi

Mathew Kepha Ndege

John K. Mwangi

Elizabeth Mueni Kimakia

 

Finally farmers recalling an Americanism argue that they are now being taxed without representation by a board on which they are not represented, and that in excluding them from the board of the Coffee Board of Kenya and other institutions assets which their ad valorem tax payments built up over the years have been effectively nationalised by the Government of Kenya.  A twist of fate that is the inevitable consequence of logic, when one thinks about it the farmers are right.  Farmers still harbour bitterness at the invoicing incident of the early years of the transition period, and many hold current directors responsible for the schemes that collapsed coffee prices only in Kenya. 

A civil constitutional petition filed by a farmer from Western province soon after the Finance Bill amended the Coffee Act in 2006 still awaits a hearing date in 2009 months after the appointment by the Minister for Agriculture.  Further evidence in farming circles of the grand conspiracy against them.  This is not a paranoiac attitude.  When one examines the ramifications of the last 8 years of official policy it is clear that the farmers have suffered several adverse effects, even though all reforms have claimed to be for their benefit.  Conversely, at every stage of the reforms non-farmers have gained in leverage and influence over every aspect of the pricing and profit of this most valuable cash crop.  Looking at the farmers and their pauperisation it is clear that something very unfair has been going on in Kenya, and that despite their sophisticated branding the intermediates are running something of a con-game on rural folk.

Effect of the Minister of Agriculture’s Appointments

The farmers have petitioned Kenya’s President, but do not appear likely to get a reversal.  Today their political cache is much diminished.  Many Central Kenyan politicians who were once solidly behind the farmers during the days of opposition to Daniel Moi’s dictatorship appear to have a moderated view of the political worth of the farmers cause.  Many appear to have developed more sympathy for the intermediates between the farmer and the coffee drinkers. 

In the first Kibaki administration there definitely was attention towards boosting coffee production and farm inputs were easier available through a voucher system by which a European Union Fund was  channelled through the giant Cooperative Bank to appointed input (fertilisers etc…) brokers and ultimately to the farmers.  Bumper crops were realised at the time the second window was opening, but farmers had to mortgage their farm titles and after the invoicing incident the bubble burst. 

Today, it is claimed by knowledgeable farmers’ representatives that the auction block awaits hundreds of thousands of farmers unless there is an enlightened policy intervention.  They hold out a faint hope that if the consumer knew of their suffering they would get a better deal, but no Kenyan press appears interested in what looks like a fascinating story of market regulatory contamination by a special undeserving interest the middleman.  A Kenyan problem that has also recently been seen in the maize scandal that saw the emptying of the country’s Strategic Grain Reserves by Ministry of Agriculture bosses in collusion with MPs and businessmen.

So, if farmers have the worse end of the deal called reform of the coffee sector, who are the winners?  A casual search of the controlling hands and directorships of the companies between the farmer and the consumer in Europe or the United States tells a sorry tale of a cartel which appears to have insinuated itself into free market reforms and cunningly transformed itself into a shadowy system of gatekeepers extracting unwarranted share of the black gold which 700,000 poor farmers grow in Kenya.

Three-and-a-Half Million Victims

There are over 300 cooperative societies of coffee growers in 6 of Kenya’s 8 provinces.  700,000 farmers are registered as growers and with their dependants it is estimated that 3.5 million Kenyans depend on coffee for a living, even without counting the industry and trade that surrounds this bitter beverage. 

 

On June 9th 2009, this issue of illegal gazettment of Coffee Board Of Kenya was in Parliament. Coffee Board of Kenya – Illegal Gazettment – Hansard – June 9th 2009 as you will see there has been no action for the coffee farmers. This is likely to be the position we put our airports in if we allow the finance Bill to be passed without amending Mr Uhuru Kenyatta’s proposal to Parliament. "mambo ni yale yale".

 

The Partnership for Change Message for Madaraka Day – 46 Years Later It’s Not Yet Uhuru but Change is Coming.

THE PARTNERSHIP FOR CHANGE MESSAGE FOR MADARAKA DAY – 46 YEARS LATER IT’S NOT YET UHURU BUT CHANGE IS COMING.

Nairobi 1st June 2009

Summary: Madaraka was meant to;
- give Kenyans sovereignty over their political affairs and their resources
- give Kenyans a Bill of Rights to be enforced by an independent judiciary
- create a democratic, prosperous & just Nation where the rule of law prevails

46 years ago today, a handover took place at a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, between the British colonial government and an elected government headed by the leader of the Kenya African National Union, Jomo Kenyatta, as Prime Minister of Kenya. That day June 1st 1963 has since then been commemorated annually by Kenyans as Madaraka (Internal Self Government) Day. It is the day that Kenyans knew their independence would shortly come.

Six months later on December 12th 1963 (Jamuhuri or Republic Day), Kenya attained independent dominion status within the British Commonwealth under a constitution that was negotiated and agreed at three multi-party Constitutional Conferences held in London and Nairobi between 1961 and 1963. At the stroke of midnight all eligible persons in the country became citizens of Kenya by birthright – in the case of those born after midnight – by naturalisation or by application.

Jomo Kenyatta remained Prime Minister until December 12th 1964 when further constitutional changes declared that Kenya would henceforth be a Republic with Jomo Kenyatta as the first President of Kenya. Kenyatta was president for 15 years. The Prime Ministership was abolished, and there have only been two more Kenyan Presidents since then – in 46 years – Daniel Arap Moi who was President between 1978 and 2002 (24 years); and Mwai Kibaki who is serving his 7th year as President.

Since that first Madaraka Day, Kenyans have been trying to secure the benefits of internal self-governance, democracy and prosperity for the people of Kenya. Sadly, 46 years later, Kenyans are still suffering from the ills of a colonial like state which instead of healing, feeding, and educating and securing the people; oppresses steals and even kills often and with impunity.

Kenyans know that freedom is not free, and that they have to unite as they did before Independence for freedom. Several times in our history we have been reunited in the push for true Uhuru. Immediately after the first Madaraka Day the struggle to preserve the vision of land and freedom was led by the Kenya People’s Union against KANU, and throughout the 1960s and 1970s by patriots like Pio Gama Pinto, Josiah Mwangi Kariuki and the students and dons of Kenya’s universities. This was defeated by brute force and assassinations. In the 1980s the resistance to section 2A of the Constitution involved agitation for the end of the one party KANU dictatorship of Daniel Arap Moi. Most recently, there was the rejection of KANU in 2002, and the election of the National Rainbow Coalition which was Kenya’s first pre-election pact coalition government, and which developed an Economic Recovery and Constitutional Reform strategy and plan which was frustrated by selfish political manoeuvre. Today Kenyans are striving to overcome the political, economic and governance crisis which emerged after the botched presidential election of December 27th 2007, and this struggle is assuming a dimension of generational leadership change in the form of a “citizen’s in charge” movement.

Throughout the darkest days, Kenyans have always known that they are Kenyans and that as such they have rights which are given to them by their Constitution. They have consistently since Independence resisted against a leadership that sought to oppress them as the colonial state did. They have however suffered greatly in this resistance. Many Kenyans have been detained without trial, subjected to rigged trials, exiled, tortured and even been killed and tortured in the past 46 years.

On 12th December 2008, citizens through the Partnership for Change declared that they were going to take charge of democratising and freeing their country for themselves. The Partnership for Change has since November 2008 been implementing a six-point agenda of advocacy and public education on the National Accord, Fundamental Human Rights, the National budget and Debt, Citizens’ Responsibility and Ending Impunity. These agenda items are covered in the National Accord of February 28th 2008, which established the Grand Coalition Government led by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

WHAT IS THE CONTENT OF OUR NATIONAL ACCORD?

Agenda One of the National Accord:
- restoration of civil and political liberties
- cessation of violence against and between citizens

Agenda Two of the National Accord:
- resolving the post election humanitarian crisis
- reconciliation and national healing

Agenda Three of the National Accord:
- overcoming the political crisis

Agenda Four of the National Accord:
- overcoming long term issues and providing solutions to mass poverty and unemployment, land reform, regional imbalances, and equity
- addressing national cohesion and reconciliation, transparency and accountability, constitutional reform, institutional reform of Parliament, the Judiciary and the Internal Security Apparatus including the police

The Grand Coalition Government has failed to keep the timelines and to deliver the National Accord. We believe that implementing the National Accord and the agenda of the Partnership for Change will ensure the delivery of the vision of Madaraka Day and Uhuru. We have committed ourselves to use all our constitutional freedoms to advocate and educate Kenyans on our agenda for the prosperity and freedom of all citizens. In this, as people and citizens of Kenya, we shall act without waiting for the political leadership who have failed us before time and time again.

Recognizing that Madaraka Day 1963 made us citizens with inalienable rights, the Partnership for Change shall over the next 6 months up to December 12th 2009 mount a nation-wide campaign to restore the Madaraka Day vision of democratic accountability and urge Kenyans to resist dictatorial impunity. If we succeed, at a minimum the fundamental rights of every Kenyan will be respected and protected by the state and its agencies on pain of prosecution for any one regardless of status, who violates the rights of a Kenyan citizen. Our rights are not negotiable.

The Partnership for Change holds the position that the National Accord and not Vision 2030 is the country’s Blue Print for national development and ultimately salvation. On this 46th Madaraka Day, we restate that the full implementation of the National Accord is non-negotiable and the Grand Coalition Government so long as it remains incapable, or refuses, to implement the National Accord has no moral authority to remain in place, bearing in mind it is created by a political pact and not by a democratic election result. To stimulate peaceful and democratic change in Kenya, we shall support people’s struggle and initiatives for a better Kenya in the following ways:

1. We shall work to raise awareness of public resources management discipline in order to identify and secure financial and other resources for the achievement of Agenda 4 of the National Accord. In this regard we are campaigning to rationalise the budget and to achieve at least 60% of the budget is secured for development spending; and are also advocating for a comprehensive external debt relief agreement for Kenya.

2. We shall work and campaign as citizens, educating others and asserting our fundamental freedoms as detailed in Chapter V of the Constitution (Bill of Rights) and in particular calling for the unequivocal and full implementation of the full implementation of the Report of the Waki Commission of Inquiry into the Post Election Violence and the Alston Report to the 11th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Summary and Extra Judicial Killings to end impunity in Kenya and to ensure that for the first time in Kenya’s history since Independence all public institutions and public officials are held accountable, and work to promote and defend human rights.

3. We shall work with grassroots Kenyans to educate Kenyans, organise forums that are driven by the citizens themselves- on how to full participate and consult with each other to participate in decision making, public finance, to protect and preserve democracy, ensure honest and effective representation in Parliament and the local governance structures and indeed all governance structures.

4. We shall advocate for the need for impartial application of the rule of law. Kenyans are born equal, regardless of the political opinion, ethnic origin or social status.

5. We shall develop plans and policies for institutional responses to deal with impunity including enhancing public monitoring and record keeping of the government operations related to public finance management and the as regards the fundamental human rights

6. We shall support the call by the people of Kenya for their immediate democratic re-enfranchisement and their right to an elected government.

WE SHALL ACT FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS AND GROUNDS:
We shall do this because the Grand Coalition Government must be pushed to deliver on its duty to Kenyans as expected in the National Accord. We shall do this because it is our right to demand for the full implementation of the National Accord. Failure to implement the National Accord constitutes grounds for a fresh election, and the Grand Coalition Government has failed in the following respects:

Failure to keep Timelines:
- It has failed to keep the timelines to deliver the promise of the National Accord. Constitutional Review within 12 months has been overlooked hence the stalled institutional reforms in the judiciary, in parliament and the representation of the people, dealing with regional imbalances and the public finance systems;
- It has failed to establish the Special Tribunal for Kenya to punish the persons bearing the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity committed in Kenya during the Post Election Violence period (December 2007 to February 2008) during which 1,133 Kenyan were murdered and hundreds of thousands were displaced.
- It has failed in 15 months to settle the internally displaced victims of the post election violence leaving hundreds of thousands of Kenyans exposed to untold suffering daily, indefinitely.

Failure to Protect Kenyans and End Extra Judicial Killings
- It has failed to demobilise militias, and dismantle organised crime syndicates and gangs, which continue to murder, extort and maim with impunity.
- Extrajudicial killings by the Kenya Police continue and no one is being punished for this illegality which has lead to the deaths of hundreds of Kenyan young men and women. Torture of persons in official custody remains a practice within the police and other disciplined forces, and torturers have impunity. Police reforms are still pending and on June 2, 2009 the UN special Rapporteur on Enforced disappearances shall present a damning report on Kenya. Shockingly during the Madaraka day celebrations, neither the President nor the Prime Minister had anything to say on this – in prominent attendance at the celebration was the Police Commissioner who has several times been indicted by independent and official reports. The Attorney general who has been described by the UN Special Rapporteur as the embodiment of impunity remains in office after 19 years, and presumably for life.

Failure to Secure Protection of Law and Access to Justice
- There have been no efforts to improve access to justice for the majority of the population. Whereas over the past 15 months the Grand Coalition Government increased the administrative districts to over 209; it has failed to provide the people with courts and today there are only 58 High Court Judges, and 287 Magistrates for a population of 38 million citizens. The backlog of cases according to the Ministry of Justice stands at over 800,000! 46 years after independence, Kenyans are denied justice as a majority face criminal charges without any legal aid or assistance by qualified lawyers.
- Prisons were built to hold 16,000 inmates at a time. Today they hold over 64,000 convicts and every day about 45,000 Kenyan citizens are held by the police in cells under inhumane and degrading conditions.

Failure to Address Long Term Issues
- The Grand Coalition Government has failed to tackle poverty and inequality. It has failed to deliver on its promise to generate 740,000 new jobs each year from 2008 to keep up with youth unemployment which is now a national security threat. Training colleges have been shut down for lack of funds while the Grand Coalition Government continues to increase recurrent expenditure on hospitality and conspicuous consumption.
- The Grand Coalition Government has failed to consolidate national cohesion. It has failed to criminalise hate speech by law and in fact it has allowed politicians and public officers to verbally abuse and scandalize those who point out its faults. The Kiambaa victims’ mass funeral which was avoided by the national and local leadership of the Orange Democratic Movement, and shoddily managed by State House shows how far the nation is from national healing.
- The Grand Coalition Government has failed to institute the much desired and needed land reform and is engaged in a sham discussion to shield its members’ vested interest in the status quo where formally public lands remain in private hands illegally; a fact extensively documented by among others the Ndung’u Land commission report of 2004.
- The Grand Coalition Government is incapable of fighting corruption and has indeed institutionalized impunity for gross economic crimes by shielding perpetrators from persecution and by incorporating perpetrators of corruption in its highest political and public offices. Today, more than half of the cabinet ministers of the GCG are implicated in Grand corruption charges and are yet to be cleared. A corrupt government can not deliver Agenda 4 of the National Accord.

Failure to control Public Debt:
- The Grand Coalition Government has committed 24% of national Budget to debt redemption and is increasing our domestic debt from Kshs. 670.8 billion to Kshs. 827.4 billion and since 1963 Kenya has borrowed over Kshs. 1 trillion with little to show for it. It is now imperative that we have full accountability and transparency in our debt. The Partnership for Change shall demand that Kenyans are told whom we owe and for what purpose we owe. We shall campaign that we as a country should undertake no further debts until the government of Kenya accounts to the people through Parliament. A quick look at our statement of external debt reveals huge borrowings and repayment to the tune of over a trillion shillings for development infrastructure that has never been built. Most of the loans did not have proper parliamentary authority and went to private hands leaving Kenyan tax payer to pay for value un-received. Disturbingly, the Grand Coalition Government has made it its policy to borrow to fund its recurrent expenditure.
- The Partnership for Change takes exception with the Bretton Woods institutions which choose to ignore the public evidence that the Kenyan Government is neither transparent nor accountable in public finance management and that there are odious debts on our books. Even though the Partnership for Change alerted the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund as to the presence of odious debt our books, and the history of pathetic management of public resources by Treasury, the International Monetary Fund’s immediate response to this call was to lend the Government of Kenya twice the amount it wished to borrow.

The Partnership for Change shall play Its role in offering information, organising the people and providing the tools for holding public officials and state institutions accountable so that by December 12, 2009, Kenyan citizens shall have made a breakthrough.

Partnership for Change
Nairobi 1st June 2009

Who’s to Blame? It Depends Where You Begin the Story

The tribal violence that has swept through parts of Kenya during the past month has been blamed on a disputed election. But in fact it has been simmering for decades, ever since British colonialists unjustly carved the country up – and Kenya’s own leaders followed suit. Chris McGreal reports

Thursday February 7, 2008
The Guardian

Charles Mugo never thought much about the history of his family. He knew that his ancestors were driven off some of the most fertile land in Kenya to make way for white settlers, and that for years after they lived in grinding poverty as little better than indentured labour for the colonists. His father told him that some fought with the Mau Mau to liberate the country and, more importantly, the land. But the Mau Mau later became a national embarrassment so not much was said about it.

Article continues
He can’t even say exactly where it is they all came from, just somewhere in what the British called the White Highlands beyond Nairobi, where many Kikuyu once lived. In any case, by the time Mugo was born 34 years ago, all that was regarded by the family as ancient history. His father had a one-and-a-half acre plot in the Rift Valley given to him in the late 60s by the first post-independence government of Kenyatta. Admittedly, it was far from where the Kikuyu had traditionally farmed but it was land, the key to economic and social advancement, and it fed the family. Charles Mugo inherited the plot and made his living growing watermelon, tomatoes and other vegetables, and selling what the family did not eat at a stall alongside the main road north from Nakuru. As far as he was concerned, a historic wrong had been more or less put right.

That was until last week, when his home was razed by the neighbours and his crops plundered in the violence that swept through the Rift Valley over the disputed December 27 election. All that is left is his father’s grave.

Mugo doubts he will ever farm his land again. The people who burned him out were his Kalenjin neighbours who said he never belonged there in the first place, and that he was little better than a squatter planted on their land by Kenyatta, a Kikuyu favouring other Kikuyu. So far as they were concerned, righting the wrong against Mugo’s family was at their expense.

Mugo suspected trouble was coming so he had already sent his wife and children out of the Rift Valley. Now living in a corner of a large Red Cross tent in a stadium in the town of Nakuru, he says the best hope of rebuilding his life is to return to what he calls his “ancestral lands”, a place he has never seen. He doesn’t know what he will find there, or who, but there is no turning back after the events of the past week.

“If they want the Rift Valley to be peaceful it is best for the Kikuyu to leave. They [the Kalenjin] do not want us here and as long as we are here they will try and get rid of us, there will not be peace,” he says. “The British started this but we have not had good leaders. I used to think that we were all Kenyans and we could all live together. Now I think we all have to go back to where we were before the British arrived and begin again. That is the only way we can live together in Kenya.”

Ask a Kalenjin who is to blame for the mess of Kenya’s land crisis and they say the Kikuyu. Ask a Kikuyu and they say the British. It just depends where you choose to begin the history of land policies based on greed and tribalism – whether by the white tribe of settlers or Kenya’s post-independence rulers – that continue to drive large numbers of Kenyans deeper into grinding poverty and to be the most divisive social issue in the country.

Mugo thought he had escaped all that but a century after his ancestors were turned off their land he too finds himself landless and destitute. He is not alone.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the colonial administration justified seizing land for European settlers on the grounds that with a population of just four million Africans there was sufficient land in Kenya for everyone, although the true nature of the confiscations is exposed by the fact that the Europeans took the best land for themselves.

More than 30 million people live in Kenya today, a high proportion of them concentrated on the lush Central Highlands, Rift Valley and western Kenya. The demand for land has grown because of the scarcity of paid jobs. The majority of Kenyans are like Mugo, scraping a living from the soil. Almost 60% of Kenyans live on less than a dollar a day. They include many of the others who have sought refuge in Nakuru’s stadium, including Jeremiah Oiruria, 77, who got a one-acre plot in Moro in 1971. He was in his house when the mob set fire to it and has burns down the right side of his face and body. “I was saved by my wife who pulled me out,” he says. “That land is everything we had. I don’t know where we go or what we do but I don’t think we can go back. They don’t want us. They told us we don’t belong here.”

Jackson Mugo, 56, from Burnt Forest, only survived by hiding under his recently harvested corn cobs. From there he watched his neighbours haul off his four cows and raze his house. “They told me before they were going to do it. They told me Kenyatta should never have sent me here. They took everything, my cattle, my bicycle, my radio. I could see them searching everywhere for the Kikuyu,” he says.

Nakuru’s town clerk, Albert Leina, a Masai, says it was tragic to watch Kenyans killing each other but that it has happened before and will go on happening until there is a government that chooses to address the legacy of the country’s history. “We voted almost in a tribal, ethnic kind of way. You’re talking about human beings. That’s facts. But if all this was not triggered by the elections it would have been triggered by something else. We are talking about historic injustices and the national cake,” he says.

Colonisation in Kenya was one long campaign of dispossession. “The British idea of land ownership was in total contradiction with the African idea,” says Odenda Lumumba, coordinator of the Kenya Land Alliance, a network of organisations campaigning for land reform. “The British deemed that Africans didn’t own land, they merely used it, and so any land lying fallow was deemed to be unused and the British took it. This made Africans essentially tenants of the crown. This was never understood by Africans. Who was this crown? Whose grandfather was it? Because all landownership was traced to grandfathers.”

The Kalenjin and Masai lost more acreage but it was the Kikuyu who were hardest hit because they were robbed of almost all their land and suffered the biggest displacement, mostly from fertile areas beyond Nairobi that the colonists called the White Highlands.

A growing population of Kikuyu was crowded on to the remaining land – “native reserves”, as the white people deemed them – that were little more than labour pools to provide workers for land they had once farmed themselves. On top of that Kenyans were deprived of the land they needed to move on in life with dowry payments that would help them climb up the social scale.

“The British took the land promising employment, but unemployment started soaring. Slums started developing in the urban areas. Africans were put in a helpless situation,” says Lumumba. The situation was exacerbated after the first world war with an influx of former army officers in search of a better life that they found on yet more expropriated land.

The settlers weren’t particularly productive – many had never farmed before – so to maintain the illusion of white superiority, the colonial administration stacked the odds against African farmers even further by banning them from growing cash crops that competed with the settlers, particularly tea and sisal.

The colonial administration introduced a “tribal chiefs” system that came to wield more power than the traditional councils of elders. The chiefs were foremost loyal to their paymasters, the British, and enforced colonial edicts with an iron fist.

Mwalimu Mati, head of Mars, an anti-corruption group campaigning to call Kenyan leaders to account for past abuses, says that at independence in 1963, Kenya inherited what has been described as one of the most skewed patterns of land distribution in the world, comparable with countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Brazil. “The struggle for independence and the Mau Mau rebellion were primarily a land grievance. The white settler population had a system of apartheid. We ended up with a situation where the best land was in the hands of a very small section of the population. The rest of the population was driven on to dry, rocky, waterless areas,” he says.

Kenyans looked to the first post-colonial government under Kenyatta to put the situation right. But in the hard-fought negotiations for independence he bowed to British demands for white settlers to remain on their farms if they wanted and for land only to be transferred through a “willing buyer-willing seller arrangement”, also the source of the present wrangle over land in Zimbabwe.

Some white people did remain but enough left that large tracts of land came up for redistribution. The Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Masai prepared to go home. But, says Mati, that wasn’t Kenyatta’s plan. “The root cause of our crisis is that the land did not get bought by the people who lost it but by the Kikuyu elite of the time. That was the situation in Central province where the Kikuyu came from. Kenyatta then settled the poor landless Kikuyu in the Rift Valley on land that had belonged to the Kalenjin,” says Mati.

Mugo’s father was among the poor Kikuyu resettled on Kalenjin land. He was a minor beneficiary. Others did much better. What evolved in the following years was little more than a land grab by Kenya’s new elite, which used British land law and Indian colonial statutes introduced to Kenya as a mechanism to distribute land as political patronage while keeping a large slice of the pie for themselves.

The largest landowners in Kenya today are the families of the only three presidents the country has had since independence – the Kenyattas, the family of his successor, Daniel arap Moi, and the present president, Mwai Kibaki, who served in the Kenyatta and Moi administrations. A little further down the scale are a residual group of white settlers, senior politicians and businessmen with political connections.

The extended Kenyatta family alone owns an estimated 500,000 acres (2,000 sq km). That represents a large chunk of the 28m acres (113,000 sq km) of arable land in Kenya. The remaining 80% of the country is mostly semi-arid and arid land. The Kenya Land Alliance says more than half the arable land in the country is in the hands of only 20% of the population. Two-thirds of the people own, on average, less than an acre per person. There are 13% who own no land at all.

Three years ago the government launched the Ndungu commission to investigate the illegal distribution of publicly owned land. The commission found that Kenyatta and Moi both grossly abused their powers to grab public land and former white-owned farms, and parcelled it out “as political reward or patronage”.

“As a result a large number of the genuinely landless … remain locked in a cycle of poverty,” the commission said in its report. The commission members included Lumumba, who says, “The land belonged to the government or was in trust for the people but the trustees, particularly the presidents, behaved as if they were estate owners. They handed out individual titles to parts of national parks and gave trust land as political favours.”

After Moi came to power in 1978 the land grabs evolved away from the vast tracts of farmlands that had already been parcelled out to all kinds of other publicly owned land. State corporations such as the railways, airports authority and power company have been plundered of land at a cost of “colossal amounts of money” to the public.

“Under Moi you used to get people turning up at a piece of land and they’d both have titles issued by the same government, sometimes by the president,” says Mati. “If Moi wanted to give someone $1m, he didn’t give them cash. He gave them the title deed to land and they’d sell that using the government land registry. Moi gave lots of people land. That was his way of governing.” Other high officials, such as successive commissioners of lands and private interests such as bankers, lawyers and architects, contributed to this “unbridled plunder”.

The commission said: “In every corner of the country today, there is a significant number of squatters who trace their landlessness to historical injustices and the failure of the post-independence governments to undertake a comprehensive resettlement programme. Their status as squatters has also left them in grinding poverty and vulnerable to all manner of human rights violations, including incessant evictions. This historical failure has given rise to a deep seated sense of grievance.”

This is not the first organised violence over land. Moi unleashed a form of terror and ethnic cleansing against the Kikuyu in the Rift Valley 15 years ago because it was Kikuyu politicians who were pressing hardest for the introduction of multi-party democracy. No one knows how many were killed, but it ran into the thousands. Moi repeated his assault ahead of the 1997 general election, targeting Kikuyu communities on the coast as well as in the Rift Valley. That helped unleash regular localised violence over land grievances separate from the immediate politics. For instance, a low-level insurgency in the Mount Elgon district has pitted rival clans against each other over land with 22 people killed in an assault on Kimama village on December 31 alone, and another 50 in the areas around in the following week. Many of them were hacked to death as they worked in their fields.

A group calling itself the Sabaot Land Defence Force has targeted specific communities in order to drive them off their land. Human rights groups say they have documented nearly 400 deaths during the violence in the area in the past six months. About 80,000 people, a third of the district’s population, has been displaced. “The violence was going to happen so long as the original grievance was not addressed. It never has been,” says Mati.

The Ndungu commission agreed. “Forty years of independence is a long time during which any historical injustices regarding land should have been resolved. The fact of the matter, however, is that there are certain deep-rooted injustices that still rankle whole communities in Kenya … The politically ignited land clashes of the 1990s are a manifestation of deep-rooted grievances that cannot be glossed over in a reform process,” it said.

Kibaki came to power in 2002 promising reform. Little has happened. Mati says the only way to address the issue is to break up the vast land holdings of the Kenyattas, Mois and others. “There is a massive youth population that doesn’t have land and that is unlikely to get it the way things are. And yet land is ingrained to them as the key to life. We have to address this or live with the consequences,” he says.

The upheaval of the past month has created the greatest ethnic migration since the end of British rule. “To say you are taking people to their ancestral homelands is ridiculous,” says Lumumba. “It’s like you are going back to the native reserves because what will they find when they get there? There is no room for them there. They will end up on the periphery of the urban areas trying to survive. It will be another time bomb,” he says.

Charles Mugo says there is no future for him or any other Kikuyu in Nakuru, and it is best just to go. “There were good Kalenjin. Some of our neighbours tried to protect us but they were threatened and told that next time their houses would be burned. That is when I knew that we wouldn’t come back. The good people have lost out to the bad. We can never feel safe here again,” he says.

that is from http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2253507,00.html

Who Owns Kenya

Friday October 1, 2004

Who owns Kenya?

________________________________________

EXCLUSIVE

By Otsieno Namwaya, East African Standard

Kenya‘s two former First Families and the family of President Mwai Kibaki are among

the biggest landowners in the country.

A residual class of white settlers and a group of former and current power brokers in the

three post independent regimes follow them closely while a few businessmen and farmers,

many with either current or past political connections, also own hundreds of thousands of

acres.

The extended Kenyatta family alone owns an estimated 500,000 acres approximately

the size of Nyanza Province according to estimates by independent surveyors and

Ministry of Lands officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Kibaki and Moi families also own large tracts of land though most of the Moi family

land is held in the names of his sons and daughters and other close family members.

Most of the holders of the huge parcels of land are concentrated within the 17.2 per cent

part of the country that is arable. The remaining 80 per cent is mostly arid and semi arid

land.

In fact, according to the Kenya Land Alliance, more than a half of the arable land in the

country is in the hands of only 20 per cent of the 30 million Kenyans. That has left up to

13 per cent of the population absolutely landless while another 67 per cent on average

own less than an acre per person.

The building land crises in the country, experts say, will be difficult to solve because the

most powerful people in the country are also among its biggest landowners.

The tracts of land under the Kenyatta family are so widely distributed within the

numerous members in various parts of the country that it is an almost impossible task to

locate all of them and establish their exact sizes.

During Kenyatta’s 15-year tenure in State House, there was an elaborate scheme funded

by the World Bank and the British Government, the Settlement Transfer Fund Scheme,

under which the family legally acquired large pieces of land all over the country.

Among the best-known parcels owned by Kenyatta’s family, for instance, are the 24, 000

acres in Taveta sub-district adjacent to the 74, 000 acres owned by former MP Basil

Criticos.

Others are 50, 000 acres in Taita that is currently under Mrs Beth Mugo, an Assistant

minister of Education and niece of the first President, 29, 000 acres in Kahawa Sukari

along the Nairobi Thika highway, the 10, 000 acre Gichea Farm in Gatundu, 5, 000

acres in Thika, 9,000 acres in Kasarani and the 5, 000-acre Muthaita Farm. These are

beside others such as Brookside Farm, Green Lee Estate, Njagu Farm in Juja, a quarry

in Dandora in Nairobi and a 10, 000-acre ranch in Naivasha.

The acreage quoted in this report is not extracted from official government records

there are none and those that exist are scattered and some cases incomplete but are

estimates based on close to a year of interviews with farm staff, independent surveyors,

Ministry of Lands experts and land rights NGOs.

Other pieces of land owned by the Kenyatta family include the 52,000-acre farm in

Nakuru and a 20,000-acre one, also known as Gichea Farm, in Bahati under Kenyatta’s

daughter, Margaret. Besides, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, widow of the former President,

owns another 10, 000 acres in Rumuruti while a close relative of the Kenyatta family, a

Mrs Kamau, has 40,000 acres in Endebes in the Rift Valley Province.

It is understood that in the late 1990s, the Kenyatta family started considering the

possibility of disposing of parts of the land in Nairobi.

In the lead-up to the 2002 general elections, for instance, there were indications that the

family was considering selling the 100-acre piece of land in Karen. But even with that,

the Kenyatta family would still own a sizeable part of Nairobi, such as the 1,000-acre

farm in Dagoretti owned by Kenyatta’s first wife Wahu.

It is also understood that part of the land on which Kenyatta and Jomo Kenyatta

Universities are constructed initially belonged the Criticos family. The government

bought the land from him in 1972 under the Settlement Transfer Fund Scheme.

It is alleged, though there is little compelling evidence, that the land was transferred to

the Kenyatta family the same day Criticos sold it to the government.

Neither is it clear how much the family paid for it.

Land for the two universities was subsequently donated by the family.

Under President Kenyatta, most of the power wielders either formed or were associated

with land buying companies through which they acquired huge chunks of land around the

country, especially at the Coast and in Rift Valley.

They took most of the land previously owned by the former white settlers, which had

initially been earmarked for resettling those who had been turned into squatters by the

colonial land policies.

One of the most famous land buying companies was Gema Holdings.

Most of the people including retired President Moi and his former Vice President,

Mwai Kibaki who had considerable political influence in the Kenyatta regime, were

given the opportunity to buy as much land as they could.

One of President Kibaki’s earliest acquisitions is the 1,200-acre Gingalily Farm along

the Nakuru-Solai road. He bought it in the late 1960s.

And in the 1970s, Kibaki, who was then the minister for Finance under Kenyatta, bought

10, 000 acres in Bahati from the then Agriculture minister Bruce Mckenzie. Kibaki also

owns another 10, 000 acres at Igwamiti in Laikipia and 10, 000 acres in Rumuruti in

Naivasha.

These are in addition to the 1,600 acre Ruare Ranch that came to the limelight when it

caught fire last year.

Just next to Kibaki’s Bahati land are Moi’s 20, 000 acres although his best known piece

of land is the 1,600 Kabarak Farm on which he has retired. It is one of the most well

utilised farms in the area, with wheat, maize and dairy cattle.

The former President owns another 20, 000 acres in Olenguruoni in Rift Valley, on which

he is growing tea and has also built the Kiptakich Tea Factory. He also has some 20, 000

acres in Molo.

He also has another 3, 000-acre farm in Bahati on both sides of the Nakuru/Nyahururu

road where he grows coffee and some 400 acres in Nakuru on which he was initially

growing coffee.

The former President also owns the controversy ridden 50, 000 acre Ol Pajeta Farm

part of which has Ol Pajeta ranch in Rumuruti, Laikipia. Last year, the family put out an

advert in the press warning the public that some unknown people were sub-dividing and

selling it.

Land transactions are ongoing and some of these farms may have changed hands.

Lands minister Amos Kimunya said yesterday the Government is formulating a land

policy, which will address the question of idle land.

“If it is lying idle, the Government will definitely apply the law to the letter to ensure it is

put to productive use,” he said.

“The policy is being developed by the people. At the end of it all, views that emerge are to

be synthesised to come up with prudent policy.” But the Government has no quarrel with

the size of land one owns. “The question is, is that land, notwithstanding the size, being

put to productive use?”

http://www.eastandard.net/archives/cl/hm_news/news.php?articleid=2189

Who is who in the exclusive big land owners’ register

By Dauti Kahura

The most glaring contradiction on land ownership in Kenya is that one of the biggest

indigenous owners in Kenya is a Maasai.

Chief Samuel Koriata, who is in his mid 70s, owns approximately 100,000 acres of land

in Narok South.

He is the single largest owner of land under one title in Narok District.

Discrete and reclusive, Koriata shuns the limelight, unlike his nemesis, the late

Paramount Chief Lerionka Ole Ntutu.

Little wonder then that even though he is the richer of the two (in terms of land

ownership), it was Ntutu who was well known publicly.

A household name in Narok, Koriata’s land is so big that it spills into Tanzania. It takes

two-and-half hours just about the distance from Nairobi to Molo to drive through

Koriata’s land.

He has leased most of the land to other Maasai for grazing and farming.

Still in Narok, another famous landowner is the MP for Nyaribari Chache and Energy

minister Simeon Nyachae, the de facto leader of Ford People.

A one time powerful Chief Secretary to the Cabinet and a career civil servant, Nyachae is

a big time barley and wheat farmer in Mau Narok.

Nyachae owns approximately 4,000 acres and grows barley which he sells to the East

African Breweries Ltd. Nyachae is also a large-scale wheat farmer.

The MP owns a huge tract of land in the arable Molo land for dairy farming and sheep

rearing.

William Ole Ntimama, the Narok North MP and Public Service Minister is also a

landowner in the district. However, compared with Koriata and Nyachae, Ntimama, is a

small-time landowner. His pieces are scattered in the district, specifically Mau Narok,

Melili and Narok North constituency.

The family of Paramount Chief Ntutu owns close to 10,000 acres of land in Narok South.

Together with the Koriata family, the two literally own Narok South constituency whose

MP is Stephen Kanyinke ole Ntutu.

The Nyakinyua Group, formed in the 1970s and which started as a women’s cultural

troupe for entertaining Mzee Jomo Kenyatta owns close to 10,000 acres in Mau Narok.

The group, with about 5,000 members, owns the Nyakinyua Investment Ltd, which in

1977 bought Murera Coffee Estate, in Kiambu.

Central Province has a few individuals with thousand of acres of mostly lush coffee and

tea plantations.

Former Attorney-General Joseph Karugu owns 2,000-acre coffee estate on the outskirts

of Kiambu town known as Kamara Estate.

Mike Maina, the owner of the three star Marble Arc Hotel in downtown Nairobi, owns

Kibubuti Farm (2,000 acres) a few kilometers from the town.

Kiambu District is also home to Charles Njonjo’s Gwabi Estate, an extensive coffee farm

whose acreage we could not immediately establish. Njonjo and Karugu also own big

lands in the Naivasha riparian areas where they have put up fabulous homes.

Stanley Githunguri, the owner of the five-star Nairobi Safari Club, owns the Tassia Estate

in Ruiru, which is estimated to be about 1,000 acres. Githunguri also owned the land on

Outer Ring Road where Tassia estate was built.

Jeremiah Kiereini, the long serving Chairman of East African Breweries Ltd, is the owner

of the famous Embori Farm along Meru/Timau/Nanyuki Road. He grows barley for the

company he chairs.

Apart from the Kenyatta family, multi-national also own huge tracts of land in the

province.

Kakuzi Ltd, owned by Linton Park of UK, has over 40,000 acres of land under tea and

coffee.

The land starts from Makutano on the Nairobi-Muranga Road and runs all the way to

Muranga Teachers College in the Makuyu area. The company recently ventured into

horticulture farming.

Kakuzi also owns a ranch that starts from Kenol Station in Thika District on to Mt

Kilimabogo.

The ranch is used to keep cattle.

Sasini, one of the Sameer Group companies also owns about 2,000 acres in the district,

most of which is under tea plantations.

Other agricultural groups that own extensive lands are the Ruiru based Sofcinaf Coffee

estate and the Del Monte Kenya Ltd, which specializes in pineapples farming and

processing

The wife of former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Fred Waiganjo allegedly owns

3,000 acres of land on the Thika-Garissa Road.

In the undulating Kapiti plains that extend to the adjoining Machakos town and beyond,

Prof Philip Mbithi owns a 10,000-acre ranch that was allegedly given to him by retired

President Moi. Mbithi, a professor of rural sociology was at one time head of the Civil

Service and Secretary to the Cabinet.

A former vice-chancellor of the University of Nairobi, Prof Mbithi quit public life he was

transferred to the less prestigious East African Community in Arusha Tanzania.

It is not only the aristocratic whites who own land in the expansive Rift Valley Province.

Top civil servants and politicians who served during Mzee Kenyatta’s time own biug

tracts of land.

The most prominent are former Provincial Commissioner and MP for Nyeri Town, Isaiah

Mathenge, former Attorney Generals Charles Njonjo and Joseph Karugu and

prominent personalities like Geoffrey Gitahi Kariuki.

Mathenge is said to own about 20,000 acres in Naro Moru. It is here that Mathenge in his

heydays would entertain guests at Silverbeck Hotel, which was part of the ranch.

Mathenge also owns Kio Ranch, situated a few kilometres from Rumuruti.

The MP for Laikipia West, GG Kariuki has one of the single largest chunk of land in the

constituency.

The President’s brother, George Mwai, has two separate ranches in Laikipia West

adjacent to the Agricultural Development Corporation’s Mutara ranch.

The first ranch is about 4,000 acres which is in two pieces (L/R Nos.: 2532 and 3264).

The other ranch is registered under his name and Lucy Wanjiru. Its L/R Nos. are 2515

and 3250.

The President’s younger brother uses the ranches for beef farming.

In Laikipia East, there is Mukogodo ranch owned by Mohammud Ismail. Ismail’s ranch

border’s Mpala Ranch.

Then is Marley Ranch owned by a wealthy Samburu rancher Lekorere who is in his late

60′s. His ranch borders Chololo and Mugokodo ranch. Lekorere bought the ranch from a

white man identified only as Tomlinson. Tomlinson, who is known among the Laikipia

Maasai as Tomis, still retain some of the ranch land.

The late Democratic Party (DP) chairman in Nanyuki, Mugambi owned a ranch in

Laikipia East. When he died in 1999, his wife and children took over the management

and named Kimakadora Ranch.

Another local who owns some land in Laikipia is one Stephen Kamamia. Kamamia owns

about 1,000 acres in Laikipia East about 25 kilometres from Nanyuki town.

Nominated Member of Parliament Mutula Kilonzo owns a huge ranch in the Machakos

plains. He also owns 2,000 acres of land next to Moi’s Kabarak Farm.

Kibaki- You Have Let Us Down!

Where else in the world, would you find a Government so unresponsive to its people? Kibaki, whom I personally voted for on December 27th 2002, had only one mandate I cared about. Stop corruption so that we could have economic growth. It is now clear that his much vaunted zero tolerance to corruption policy appears to have been yet another election gimmick. I am shocked that the man I placed my trust and support in, has completely forgotten why so many Kenyans put him in State House. I am shocked that he has tolerated corruption to the levels of Moi, whom we unseated for him.

It is so very sad that in the 4th year of his Presidency, Kibaki, is silent as his Ministers and Anti-Corruption Commission Director spend precious time (at my expense) trying to convince me and other Kenyans that I did not see what I saw; or hear what I heard. This last week, I know I heard David Mwiraria and Kiraitu Murungi engaged in a shameful attempt to convince John Githongo, who I know to be principled to a fault, that he should turn his back on the theft of my money and that of Kenyans. Billions of shillings! So that their government does not fall. What a shame!

Kibaki’s betrayal of the dreams of those who voted for him suggests that he is a cynical and deceitful person. He has created toothless institutions to deal with corruption and presented them to the people of Kenya as a fig leaf. He shamelessly tried to use a young Kenyan to cover up the mess of his generation. And now he has the nerve to try and get re-elected while the bile is still fresh in our throats from having to listen to his ministers insult the only true anti-corruption official he ever employed. Disgusting.

Its one thing to say I will do something about corruption so elect me, which we foolishly do. It is quite another to not only, not keep your promise but to engage in stealing and become the corrupt system itself, while using taxpayers money to window dress your obvious efforts to Steal. I am outraged that the Anglo Leasing investigation (if there is indeed one) is part and parcel of the Kibaki administration’s window dressing. All the official reports I have read, lead me to conclude that the President knows more about Anglo Leasing than we are being told. Why else would his Former PS of Governance and Ethics be hiding in the UK? The Vice President has already been implicated in the scandal, and as far as the hierarchy goes there is only the President above him. Who is Githongo hiding from?

What upsets me further is that anyone who, tries to tell Kenyans the truth is immediately dismissed as a traitor, busy body, or a lunatic. Kenyans should be at liberty to demand that Githongo, who as a civil servant was an employee of the Kenyan people be permitted to tell us what he knows of this scandal without the interference of the administration. There is no way Government can credibly investigate itself or be allowed to attempt a cover up! I am not an investigator, but even I can tell that these numbers do not add up and the story certainly does not flow!

The last decade has seen Kenyan taxpayers lose over 100 billion shillings in just two scandals. Kibaki, like his predecessors, has overseen high level corruption and done nothing about it. Daniel Arap Moi also oversaw corruption just as Jomo Kenyatta before him. Under Moi, the longest-running scandal was Goldenberg, where the Kenyan government subsidised exports of non-existent diamonds and gold, paying Kamlesh (Paul) Pattni the equivalent of more than 10% of our country’s annual GDP. Then there was a Sh360 million helicopter servicing contract in South Africa. Military officers had argued that the contract was too extravagant and servicing the helicopters could be done locally. Kenya Air Force went ahead to spend KShs108 million as a down payment for servicing the Puma helicopters, which apparently we hear the Government should stop using for their own safety! Also common to both the Kibaki and Moi Regime are the businessmen they deal with.

Take for example, Deepak Kamani and the Kamani family businesses including the flagship company Kamsons. The PAC report 2006 names Deepak Kamani as one the businessmen involved in the Anglo Leasing Scandal. It is alleged that Deepak Kamani was at the heart of the conspiracy to defraud the taxpayers of Kenya through contracts entered into by corrupt elements within the Government of Kenya with mostly fictitious or phantom organizations. Companies associated with Deepak Kamani include Kamsons (Kenya), Silverson Establishment (UK), Anglo Leasing Finance (UK), Infotalent Systems Pvt (India), Diani Reef Beach Hotel (Kenya), Apex Finance (Switzerland). He was reputed to be close to two former Commissioners of Police of Kenya, a former Head of the Special Branch (now called the NSIS) and a former Chief of General Staff Kibwana who served under Moi and Kibaki.

In March 2006, the Kenya Police issued a Kshs 100,000 reward to the general public for information leading to the capture of Deepak Kamani and his brother. On their website (http://www.kenyapolice.go.ke/wanted%20persons.asp) the Police are said to have mixed up their photographs on the wanted poster hopefully not intentionally. The Kamani brothers are wanted for questioning related to the Anglo Leasing Scandal & Related Projects. If the Government had cared to look before he fled the country, they would have found Deepak Kamani at his Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa (www.dianireef.com) or at his Prima Rosa Flower farm in Athi River. But then the Government wasn’t interested in finding him. KACC is said to have placed caveats on the hotel and flower farm, a simple caveat which even a non educated person can effect! KACC and the police are still looking!

Under Moi, the Kamani’s were infamous for a contract in which their firm Kamsons tendered for the supply of Mahindra Jeeps to the Police Department in the mid 1990s for close to Sh1 million (US$13,000) each, at a time when showrooms would have charged customers a sixth of the price. Moreover, the vehicles were being bought for a government department and were therefore imported duty free. Few of the more than 1,000 units that were imported over several years are in service today. Under Moi and continued by the Kibaki Adminstration, the Kamanis were also involved in a deal to build a CID forensic laboratory. On June 7, 2004 an amount of $4.7 million was wired back. The payment was a refund against the money paid for the Criminal Investigations Department forensic laboratory. Another Euro 5.2 million was paid back in respect of the E-cop project, which involved computerisation of the police force and the installation of spy cameras in Nairobi by Infotalent Systems Private Limited. Under Moi, The Prisons department lost $3 million after contracting Hallmark International, a company associated with Mr Deepak Kamani of Kamsons Motors, for the supply of 30 boilers. Only half of the boilers were delivered from India and not the United States as had been agreed.

The recklessness with which Kibaki has handled our money has exposed Kenyans to two kinds of losses: first and foremost we are likely to get overpriced goods and worse, we have, in the second place, been exposed to legal action requiring Kenyans to pay for his costly errors.

Kibaki’s dealings with two companies (Euromarine and Nedermar) are a further case in point. Euromarine is behind the kshs 4.1 billion Navy ship deal, in which the tender was awarded in a process that has been criticised as irregular. Military analysts say a similar vessel could have been built for Sh1.8 billion. Or put another way we could have bought two ships! Nedermar is behind the construction of Nexus, a secret military communication centre in Karen, Nairobi. The Government spent Sh2.6 billion to construct the complex. Nedermar BV Technologies, according to court records is very well known to the Government of Kenya, and is registered in the St. Vincent and Grenadines Islands. A google search will confirm that this island has more corporate citizens than human beings. Anyway, the government entered into this contract to build Nexus which, was first meant to be an ammunition dumpsite before it was turned into a military communication and operations centre. Construction continued without any site visits by either the DOD staff or Ministry of Public Works officials. The Nexus project was implemented during the tenure of General Joseph Kibwana who was CGS during both Moi and Kibaki. Nedermar has now taken the Kenyan Government to court and has managed to attach Kenyan Assets overseas, while the Government sits pretty and the members of Parliament (particularly those on the defence standing committee) run around the countryside shouting themselves hoarse about roses and oranges; at our expense.

Since Independence, it appears that corruption has become the norm. The only difference is the scale of corruption. It just becomes larger as new Governments take over, starting with the Kenyatta Government, where his family owns land the size of Nyanza province, and then through Moi and ending with the Kibaki Government taking home the prize with a record kshs 50 billion in two years.

Should we accept this as a way of life simply because we have never experienced any other style of Governance? We are also aware that the representatives we have in the National Assembly have no interest in corruption either. Their plan is exactly the same. Been there, done that! These people need to go home and try something else; obviously they have no legislative or leadership skills! Every time, they tell us a story. We elect them. They let us down. And.. the cycle starts again at election time.

When will we learn?

Kenyans are not foolish people! We understand the issues clearly; The Members of the National Assembly and the Government of Kenya are employees of the Kenyan People! We pay them. To work for us. To be accountable to us. To act in our collective best interests. NOT TO STEAL FROM US AND TO INSULT US WHEN WE ASK WHAT IS GOING ON.

We need not fear to ask the questions for which we need answers quickly. None of the big men who are running for President are any greater than we the people. We are their employers. They have no special right to rule us. They must convince us to vote for them. So, we the Kenyan people, have the power to DEMAND that our questions are answered in an intelligent, clear and logical manner! If elected officials, who work for us, feel it unnecessary to respond to our questions to our satisfaction, then we must do the prudent thing- sack them. Our choices are not limited to the same crop of citizens. Surely, Kenya can produce 222 very capable, qualified citizens who can do the job. The time has come for Kenyans to sack the entire useless, lazy, corrupt, indolent, thieving lot!

JWGM
MARS GROUP
26th January 2007