Capital FM (Nairobi)

9 August 2012

Kenya: OP Accused of Meddling in Land Commission Nominees

It is now emerging that the Office of the President substituted the name of one nominee to the National Land Commission after allegations that he holds multiple passports.

The revelation came when the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister Caroli Omondi and President Kibaki's Advisor on Constitutional matters Kivutha Kibwana appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Lands which is vetting the nominees to the crucial commission.

The committee's chairman Mutava Musyimi sent the meeting into a private session after it emerged that the National Security Intelligence Services had written to the principals claiming that Abdikadir Adan Khalif held passports from Somalia, America and Kenya.

Adan admitted to holding American and Kenyan passports. He acquired the US passport when he worked as a surveyor in Minneapolis for 12 years.

He told the committee that he was forced to relocate to the US after his wife and her sister 'conspired' to have the family settle in the 'twin cities'. He said his sister-in-law managed to convince the Lutheran Church in Minneapolis to give him a job as a surveyor.

"We were told that you might have another passport of another country, particularly Somalia," posed Musyimi.

"I have never had a Somalia passport nor do I hold travel documents from Somalia. I don't have any dealings with Somalia," Adan said during his vetting session held at Parliament Buildings.

He said his relations with the government became strained in the 1990â-'s after he expressed support for the Democratic Party (founded by Mwai Kibaki who had then ditched the ruling party and quit as a Cabinet minister).

Adan said he had campaigned for an opposition candidate in Mandera which upset the then Kanu government leading him to relocate from Mandera to Isiolo after he was severally threatened and held in detention. He left for the US in 1999.

Adan graduated from the University of Nairobi in 1978 with a degree in Lands Surveying and Photogramatory and later worked in the Ministry of Lands- Survey Department. He also thrice tried his hand in politics when he unsuccessfully vied for the Wajir seat in 1978, 1983 (when Daniel Moi called snap elections) and 1989.

The spy agency also claimed that Adan ascribed to a political movement, Hizbia Digil Mirifle Somali which is said to have links with Somalia but when asked, he clarified that the 'movement' is a clan among the Somali community in Kenya.

"Digil Mirifle is much less a political organisation or a party. It's one of the major clans of the Somali; which I belong to just like 90 percent of the population in Mandera County belongs to," he said.

Adan added; "Somali people wherever they are... whether they are in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya or even in Somalia are divided into five major clans."

He however clarified that he had never been summoned by any security agency on the issue of his nationality.

"I have never been interrogated, summoned or asked politely; I don't know about these private investigations going on and I have never been confronted on that," he said.

United States immigration laws allow an immigrant to apply for permanent residence after residing there for more than a year and then they can be eligible for citizenship if they stay another five years.

The agreed list for the commission contained Muhammad Swazuri as the designated chairman. The nominees to sit as members of the National Land Commission are Tomiik Konyimbih, Silas Kinoti Muriithi, Rose Musyoka, Samuel Kipngetich Tororei, Abigael Mbagaya, Emma Muthoni, Clement Lenachuru, and Abdulkadir Adan Khalif.

It emerged that after the list was sent to Parliament, the Head of the Public Service Francis Kimemia wrote to Parliament seeking to Khalif dropped from the list and a new person named to join the team.

Kimemia wanted his place taken up by a Mohammed A.W, But the Office of the Prime Minister, in a letter dated July 13, contested the replacement.

The Speaker thus ordered that the disagreement in the Executive to be sorted out by the House Committee on Lands and Natural Resources, whose duty is to vet the nominees and present them to Parliament in form of a report on or before August 14, 2012.

In addition, the two letters (from the President and the Prime Minister) were forwarded for the committee to consider them.

The National Land Commission has the constitutional authority to manage public land on behalf of the national and county governments; and to recommend a National Land Policy to the national government.

It also has the role of advising the national government on a comprehensive programme for the registration of titles in land throughout Kenya.

It will also be the role of the commission to conduct research related to land and the use of natural resources, and make recommendations to appropriate authorities.

Besides, it will initiate investigations, on its own initiative or on a complaint, into present or historical land injustices, and recommend appropriate redress.

The law also gives the Commission powers to encourage the application of traditional dispute resolution mechanisms in land conflicts; to assess tax on land and premiums on immovable property in any area designated by law; and to monitor and have "oversight responsibilities" over land use planning throughout the country.

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