28 February 2003

Kenya: Two-Week Ultimatum to Land Grabbers

Nairobi — Lands Minister Amos Kimunya has issued a two-week deadline for those favoured by illegal land allocations to surrender them or be exposed.

Kimunya said his ministry was in the process of compiling a list of all such land. Those found to be beneficiaries will lose the land. He was contributing to debate on the President's speech.

He also told the House that the ministry was in the process of computerising its operations and records will be updated.

The minister said there was need to safeguard the public interest and ensure precedents were set for posterity. The Minister said the task of nation building was too complex, enormous and diverse to be left to the government alone and said he looked forward to a strong opposition to keep the leadership in check.

Shinyalu MP Daniel Khamasi said Narc MPs would only support the Government if it followed the wishes of the people.

He accused the former government of gerrymandering saying constituency boundaries were tampered with ill-will, with some MPs "coming to this House on a mere 3,000 votes".

There had been cases, he told the House of cash being withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund without parliamentary authority and contrary to the Constitution.

The war on corruption, he said, must go on so that those who cannot deliver are rooted out and those who were willing to serve the people brought in.

A former Assistant Minister yesterday poured vitriol on the Kanu government he served. He said it ignored the Wagalla Massacre in which over 500 people were reportedly killed.

Abdi Mahmud Mohamed, the MP for Wajir East said at least 10,000 residents were rounded up in Wajir and tortured.

The MP told the House that the 500 people reportedly killed by the security forces included 50 civil servant whose families had not been compensated to date.

During the incident, he told Parliament, locals were set blaze, others hacked to death and several others maimed.

Contributing to debate on the Presidential speech, he urged the Government to set up a tribunal or commission of inquiry to investigate the incident, saying the previous government dragged its feet over the issue and nothing was done.

Mahmoud said those responsible for human rights violations should be brought to justice so that they could face the law.

The MP for Matuga, Ali Mwakwere, said the 39 years of independence had been a nightmare for the people of Matuga as they had been denied their rights and abused.

He said even clashes that rocked the Kwale area several years ago were not instigated by locals but by outsiders for unknown motives.

He blamed the previous regime for allocating beach plots to individuals as a result of which local fishermen lost access to the sea and fishing suffered.

Mwakwere said a senior politician was importing hard drugs for youth in the area and called for action from the government against him.

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