The convening of this press conference requires some context. Across time, the land question has become an enduring and festering problem in Kenya. Land has been at the centre of various facets of democratic deficit in this country. The 2007/2008 post-election violence is a stark and sordid reminder of how far it can go. C, we have seen eruption of land-based clashes in the Rift Valley, particularly in Njoro and Narok. This is a clear demonstration of the fact that we are not yet there. These re-flaring of what is often called ‘Land Clashes’, also point to a void in our land governance system.
It is for the reasons above that we seek to reiterate that our entire democratic project as a country lies in the way we deal with the land question. Success of the Big 4 Agenda and all intended reforms rest on the crest of land. But this land reforms must be accountable, equitable, transparent, sustainable and cost effective. Success of these is not measured by the number of titles issued to individuals and public schools. Nay. The first port of call in evaluating these would be the nature and extent to which the principles of land policy at Article 60 (1) have been infused in the respective interventions.
This is why Kenyans yearned for and established within the constitutional framework a commission known as the National Land Commission. The commission was given a currency with which to operate: trust and confidence. Like any other Chapter Fifteen Commission, they were enjoined at Article 249(1) of the Constitution in protecting the sovereignty of the people; securing observance of democratic values and principles; and promoting constitutionalism.
Today, we are here to report that from our conversations with members of the public, it is patently clear that the National Land Commission has failed us. As one of the Commissioners, Abdulkadir Adan Khalif noted in 2016:
“….I believe that lack of progress in implementing land reforms in Kenya, besides embarrassing the current administration also threatens our social order, economic stability, national security and reverses recent gains in devolution. …Land sector is the only sector that has ground to halt as vested interest conspire to change laws to suite their selfish needs”
That failure is directly attributable to the following commissioners who must therefore carry their own crosses to the Golgotha of public opinion. These commissioners whom Kenyans entrusted with spearheading the land reform agenda must now be held accountable for they are gamekeepers who have turned poachers. Here they are:
- Commissioner Muhammad Swazuri
- Commissioner Abigael Mbagaya Mukolwe
- Commissioner Abdulkadir Adan Khalif
- Commissioner Clement Isaiah Lenachuru
- Commissioner Emma Muthoni Njogu
- Commissioner Samuel Kipng’etich Tororei
- Commissioner Tomiik Konyimbih Mboya
We have dispatched letters to each and all of them, detailing their complicity in subjugation of the law in:
- Serious violation of the Constitution and other laws, including multiple contravention of chapter six;
- Gross misconduct in the performance of their functions ; and
We remain hopeful that the widespread and credible allegations against them will trigger their conscience and opt for the honourable: an immediate exit from the commission. On our part, the next stop is animating Article 261(2) of the Constitution, the National Assembly.
We have now presented the charge sheets against the Seven (7) and urge the public to animate Article 1(2) of the Constitution and effect citizen arrest of any of the Commissioners above and present them to the nearest police station. We act because we must, for the gamekeepers have turned poachers.
- Kenya Human Rights Commission.
- Pamoja Trust.
- Kenya Land Alliance.