The Star (Nairobi)

1 February 2013

Kenya: Sue Me Over Land, Uhuru Dares Raila

JUBILEE Alliance presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta has dared Cord coalition's Raila Odinga to take him to court if he had any evidence that he had illegally acquired huge tracts of land.

Uhuru accused Raila of inciting Kenyans on perceptions instead of making public any evidence that he had to support his allegations.

"Surely, if there was hard evidence, all available to you, bring it out to the people of Kenya, prosecute me if you may, if I have done anything wrong. But all you are doing, and you know land is a very emotive issue, is playing on the emotions of Kenyans as opposed to really tackling the problem," Uhuru said during an interview with Citizen TV.

Former Agriculture minister William Ruto who is also Uhuru's running mate accused Raila and the Cord coalition of trying to provoke Kenyans by claiming a Cord government would repossess and re-distribute land.

"12 per cent of land in Kenya today is in private hands. Another 25 per cent is in the hands of government. A whole 60 something per cent is land that is community land which is trust land which is not adjudicated, that has no title. If anybody wants to engage in the business of land, we should look at the broader spectrum," Ruto told KTN in another interview.

Raila has in recent days been addressing rallies in which he alludes to the large tracts of land that he alleges Uhuru owns. Raila has suggested that Uhuru should donate some of the land to landless Kenyans before he becomes president.

Yesterday, Uhuru asked Raila to access all the information held by the government and gather all the evidence that he can use against him in court.

He laughed off claims that have been repeated frequently that he and the extended Kenyatta family owned land that was equal in size to Nyanza province.

Uhuru asked Cord to stop spreading the propaganda and tell Kenyans how the party intends to address land injustices if it forms the next government.

Uhuru and Ruto promised to expound more on how they intended to address land issues when they launch the alliance' manifesto this Sunday. Among the land reforms the alliance is proposing is the repossession of all illegally acquired land without compensation and prosecution of all land grabbers and especially government officials.

The amount of land that the Kenyatta family and indeed, the Moi and even Kibaki families has been fodder for speculation for decades. The Kenya Land Alliance, a lobby group that campaigns on land issues, has previously claimed that the extended Kenyatta family owns an estimated 500,000 acres which is more or less the size of Nyanza province.

When Uhuru's father was in power for 15 years, the World Bank and the British government funded a scheme dubbed, the Settlement Transfer Fund Scheme, under which the family legally acquired large pieces of land all over the country.

Other powerful individuals around Kenyatta also formed or associated with land buying companies through which they acquired land in different parts of the country especially at the Coast and in Rift Valley.

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