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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 3 August 2014

LAND CLASHES GHOST RETURNS TO HAUNT KISIERO AS PRIEST SPILLS BEANS



 Catholic Diocese has sparked off a hue and cry from the Sabaot community, nearly 800kms away on the slopes of the Mt Elgon traversing Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia counties. 

Fr Dolan has earned the ire of the community by demanding the exclusion of a leading and veteran politician Wilberforce Kisiero from the recently commissioned Historical Land Injustices Taskforce questioning his integrity.


Fr Dolan who once worked at the Kitale Catholic Diocese as the head of the Chapter of Peace and Justice Commission during the 1990/92 tribal turmoil in the country had also lumped Coast politician Kasim Mwamzadi together with Kisiero as people who lacked quality to serve in the HLIT.

The Catholic priest under the auspices of a civil society Haki Yetu had written to the National Lands Commission chairman Mohammed Swazuri to remove Mwamzadi and Kisiero from the 47-man HLIT for alleged grabbing of public land at the Coast and incitement to 1990-92 violence in Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia respectively.  

But in a terse rejoinder released in Kitale, Kisiero dismissed Fr Dolan’s claims and instead asked the catholic priest to strengthen the unity amongst Bukusus, Tesos and Sabaots in Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia as part of the mandate of HLIT to make recommendations that would enhance national cohesion. 

In the six-page rebuttal, Kisiero who is a former Mt Elgon MP and assistant minister in retired President Daniel Moi Kanu regime, said the recommendations made by the HLIT will not be final as they will be subjected to debate by the National Assembly before adoption. 

Sabaot Supreme Council of Elders asked Fr Dolan, a columnist in a local Sunday newspaper, to stop inciting Kenyans against Kisiero as a member of the HLIT.

SSCE members led by former Kitale deputy mayor, Pius Mzee arap Kauka, described Kisiero as a “clean man” and asked the NLC boss to ignore Fr Dolan and his cronies and consider one more slot for the Sabaot community in the HLIT.

The other SSCE members who included Susan Moss, Gregory Ngeiywa and Sile Sisimwo alleged that Fr Dolan was transferred to Mombasa from Kitale after inciting Trans-Nzoia residents against the government.
They observed there was no way the Sabaots and Bukusus will be put asunder since they have intermarried for many years.
On his part, Kisiero said Fr Dolan who had based his claims on the Akiwumi Judicial Commission on tribal clashes had failed to recognise the fact the commission’s report was rejected by the government for being biased. 

Saying the Akiwumi report was biased for having targeted the Kalenjin community, the former Mt Elgon legislator wondered why some individuals mentioned alongside him had been appointed to serve in various public positions. 

Kisiero’s statement read in part. “There are a total of 187 people adversely mentioned including myself. It is obvious that many of these people have continued to serve in various capacities in public service and no one has raised a red flag the way Fr Dolan has done against me”. 

He claimed the Akiwumi Commission was biased against the Kalenjin community by ignoring the plight of the Bongomek sub-tribe in Kanduyi, Bungoma county, who were thrown out of their ancestral land during the 1990/92 clashes.
Among those mentioned in the Akiwumi Report are politicians Nicholas Biwott, Mark Too, Elijah Mwangale (deceased), Jackson Kibor, Christopher Lomada and Wafula Wabuge (deceased).

The ex-assistant minister gave a chronology of events where Sabaots were ejected from their ancestral land by colonialists and sought refuge in Uganda, Maasailand and West Pokot before coming back to reclaim their farms in Trans-Nzoia during the 1990/92 heydays.

“If the so-called returnees came with firearms, I cannot be blamed in any way because it is the responsibility of the government to ensure firearms are not smuggled into the country. It was neither my responsibility to guard the borders of our country nor persuade or force families not to visit one another. The said returnees may have felt they had legal right to go back to their ancestral lands but never ever at one time did I visit their areas with the aim of persuading them to come back to Kenya.”

According to Kisiero, the Bukusus voted for him during the 1992 multi-party general elections as the Mt Elgon lawmaker despite the clashes.
“This is a clear testimony of the good rapport I had with the Bukusus which has remained intact to date. Together, we have worked hard to unite the Mabanga 2010 Mou which led to the sharing of elective political positions in Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia counties during the 2013 general elections,’’ he said. 

The only sin he committed, he said, is that the tribal clashes occurred at a time when he was MP and as a leader, the aggrieved people and opponents got an opportunity to blame his leadership.
“But I am still confident and conscious that I have not incited anyone to engage in tribal clashes. I am well sure my detractors were driven by malice and witch-hunt to have me crucified for sins I did not commit’’.
Kisiero supports the government in dismissing the Akiwumi Report “which even didn’t make any recommendation for prosecution”.

He quoted the government’s comment: “It is obvious, in all circumstances that the Akiwumi commission approached the evidence with a biased mind against the Kalenjin and Maasai communities, particularly in dealing with the clashes in Rift valley’’.

He blamed his woes on one William Omuse Osuru whom he said he lied to the commission that he had attended political rallies in Endebess, Trans-Nzoia county, where he allegedly issued incitement orders.
He said he had recorded a statement with CID men over the alleged rallies by the roadside for the fear of eruption of fresh clashes if the sleuths visited him at his Saboti home.