The Mau Saga Exposes Lawlessness in Kenya

Published on 17th August 2009

The poor man's only hope is a democratic government. Of late Kenya has proven not to be a democratic government. The rule of law is neither observed nor enforced impartially in Kenya. What does the law say about eviction of people?


Presidents Moi and Kibaki awarded land title deeds to residents of Mau. We watched it on TV and have newspaper archives that documented this. Since the highest custodians of the law of Kenya were serious and proved this by awarding title deeds to the current residents, their eviction must not be done with impunity.  


How come a common man who was lawfully settled by the head of state is suddenly branded ‘villain’ as if the president was just playing political games then? This “We don’t care, kick them out" attitude confirms how lawless Kenyans are. It simply states that as long as it does not affect ‘us’, we do not give it a damn. As long as it is not my mother, father, son or tribe, it is ok to crucify others.


The history of Mau is all over the internet. Mau was not distributed to the rich and famous only. Many in the Mau are poor people trying to eke a living. The government should deal with the rich who grabbed the land. It should go to court like everyone else, and convince the judge that the land was stolen. There should be no politics in this. The law should prevail. The government has not done that. All it has done is to tell the people that "We gave you the land illegally and we are taking it back illegally even if it calls for impunity!”  Where is the rule of law in this?  Why is it so easy to evict and very difficult to establish efficient and aggressive agro forestry programs?


Impunity begets impunity. Mau is not the only land that has been distributed to individuals by the Government. Raila's father has huge chunks of land in Muhoroni that was given by the government. Indeed the majority of the Luos were settled in areas ranging from Lumbua to Kipkellion by the government at subsidized rates. The Kisii were settled by Nyachae in the Rift Valley. Moi has huge chunks of land in which he settled Kalenjins in parts of the Rift Valley. President Kenyatta allocated himself so much land that can settle an entire constituency. The land did not belong to him. He went further and resettled  Kikuyus wherever he could.  


If the issue is allocation of land illegally, then all the cases including the Moi, Odinga, Kenyatta, and even many of the Gema group should return land to the government. If the law is to be applied equally,a crime committed 50 years old should just be prosecuted in a similar fashion as one which is 20 years old. Selective prosecution of crimes should be unacceptable to all Kenyans. Change minded Kenyans should either prosecute crimes wholesomely or forgive wholesomely. Prosecuting the Kalenjins in the Mau while ignoring the Kikuyus in the Rift Valley is tantamount to instigation of a reaction that in future may make Kenya ungovernable. Have we not learned lessons from our neighbor Somali?


Imagine you were born 30 years ago in the Mau scheme. The only home you know is Mau. You have legitimate documents given by the government showing that this is your property. The government has just noticed that your land is in a water catchment area and wants you to move. It is forcing you to leve but has not shown you where you should go. Imagine waking up one morning to find police officers, army personnel and the PC burning your house, property and telling you to leave. What will cross through your mind? What will you think about your own government?  


The Mau is a water catchment area but is indiscriminate eviction the solution? Isn’t indiscriminate eviction flouting of the law? Are there alternative approaches to this issue including a slowly but calculated resettlement program? If people move from Mau today, will we get enough water tomorrow? How about agro forestry programs? Do we have ways of using the land without damaging the water catchment area? What is going to happen to Kenya when there will be population explosion? Will we let human beings die and save the forest? Or will the rich eliminate the poor so that they can survive on the meagre resources?


From the foregone, it is clear that we have a government that has failed to use technology to solve problems. We have a tribal government in which everyone is fighting for his tribe. There is no law in Kenya. Every person will soon be on their own. None of our leaders is planning for the future of Kenya. It is time for the poor people of Kenya to rally for change!


Dr. Barack Abonyo

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