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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 20 October 2014

TWISTS AND TURNS IN KAREN LAND-GRAB SAGA



When an incumbent regime finally runs out of ideas and steam, there is usually no problem as long as there is a viable opposition that has fashioned itself into a genuine government in waiting and offers an electorate a real option at the next nearest general election/presidential poll.
However, when an opposition runs out of ideas, tactics and counterstrategies, then the government is given an opportunity to capitalise on. That is what president Uhuru Kenyatta did when Cord implicated big names in the multi-million Karen land saga.
Last week, a section of Cord leaders dramatically called an international press conference and sensationally named a number of top Jubilee luminaries and colleaques in Cord as being beneficiaries of one of the most brazen land-grab scams in Kenya. This is the Sh8.7 billion 134-acre grab in Karen, Nairobi, one of Kenya’s most expensive areas.
Deputy President William Ruto, cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu, Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and CID director Ndegwa Muhoro, Senator Mike Mbuvi were dramatically named as some of the beneficiaries.
We have landed on the full list which Cord had as beneficiaries. Apart from the above it has a one Patrick Osero, Farouk Kibbet, Mary Annie Keittany all close to Ruto. On the list were Mohammed Duale, Ferdinand Waititu, Kimani Kega the chairman of parliamentary committee on lands and Ngilu son-in-law a one Billy Indeche. Indeche’s firm is said to be linked to the demarcation of the controversial land. The opposition says to grab the land, a one John Mugo Kamau was given the title deed in 1978. However what is emerging is that the said Kamau was at the said time to be in primary school hence complicating matters further.
Cord senators Bonny Khalwale Johnstone Muthama, James Orengo, Elizabeth Ongoro and Suna East MP Mohammed Junnet called the  leaders “architects in the monumental and unprecedented”.
Others named were Ngilu and her personal assistant James Mbaluka. Suprisingly on the list from Cord side apart from Kidero are Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa and  Sirisia MP John Waluke.
Apart from Ruto and Sonko, the other prominent people named denied the allegationss.
Lawyer businessman Horatio Da Gama Rose had obtained orders to evict people who have invaded the Sh8 billion land.
The land is contested between Da Gama Rose and former NSSF managing trustee Jos Konzolo. Da Gama Rose’s company Muchanga Investments Limited has sued Telesource, Habenga Holdings, Jina Enterprises Ltd, director of Survey, director of Physical Planning,  ministry of Lands, registrar of Titles and the chief land Registrar in the dispute.
Kidero denied having personal interests in the land but said he had a responsibility to protect in his official capacity as head of the county government of Nairobi. “The only interest that I’m aware of as the governor of Nairobi is the interest of maintaining two parcels of land; 14.5 acres for a public school and 3.5 acres which is wetland.
“I know those who have named me cannot stand in a court of law and prove that I have a personal interest,” said Kidero.
The leaders said the decision to name and shame the six public officials was based on the findings of a committee established by Cord to investigate the matter.
Khalwale claimed the committee had reached its conclusions after research at the ministry of Lands and the former City Council of Nairobi.
“We interviewed professionals, including surveyors, some of whom have already signed affidavits. Our decision is informed by documents given to us by these professionals,” he said.
Muthama said they had decided to speak out because court orders had been disobeyed by the leaders. They demanded that Ngilu, Kimaiyo and Muhoro step aside to facilitate investigations. The police boss was upset and told one media house: “I have not been allocated any land in Karen by anyone. I am not even aware of where the said land is. I should not be associated with this kind of thing. How can I be involved in such irregularities in my position?”
The CID boss was similarly scandalised and declared: “My interest in that land is the ongoing investigations into the ownership. We are investigating the ownership following complaints by the late PC Godhard John Mburu’s widow Carmelina Ngami Mburu, and, lately, by Da Gama Rose through Muchanga Investments Limited. That is the nearest, or closest, I have been to that land.”
The Cord would-be whistleblowers challenged Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko and Anti Corruption Commission boss Mumo Matemu to launch investigations and prosecute all the bigwigs.
The accusers that the opposition had sent to embarrass the regime had in one way or another linked to land scams apart from Khalwale and Ongoro. Analysts say, the opposition could have used better faces to expose the scam. Two of the Cord Five do not have a leg to stand on when it comes to matters land-grabbing, mega corruption and behaving badly generally.
Starting with Orengo, who was minister for Lands in the Grand Coalition Government between April 2008 and February 2013, he, among other things, is culpable over the irregular Lamu land 500,000-acre allocations to 22 firms, 11 of whom are unregistered. These allocations came to light after violence in Lamu.
The calculation behind the Lamu massacres and the land-grabs that took place under Orengo’s watch had everything to do with selling the land to Lapsett. 
Orengo has recorded statements  and faces prosecution for his role in the illegal allocation of 500,000 acres of land in Lamu as well as other areas around the country.
It is on this basis the government read a move to divert Kenyans from the ongoing land illegal investigations by those implicated. Whereas the Karen land issue is of great concern, fear is if politicised, it is bound to be a Jubilee versus Cord affair with serious ramifications. The Cord whistleblowers are to record statements with the police to shed more light on the matter.