|The vanishing Mau Forest Photo courtesy|
The heading by the EA Standard newspaper on the 27th of August 2009 (I am not to blame for destruction, says Moi) leaves me both with nostalgia and half way down the corridor to the asylum ward! Its crazy! The article goes on to quote the former Head of State that "If someone is talking about Moi you are doing so because you fear me. I will not answer you as we are all interested in conservation."
What conservation is Moi talking about? Is he pointing out that someone else in Kenya, whilst he was still President, was busy dismantling Mau forest? Two things come to mind: either he was asleep on the job as someone was cutting up Mau forest, or he was too incompetent to understand the word conservation whilst parading and dishing out title deeds to people who had grabbed parts of the water tower-including of his son Gideon Moi. Gideon is listed as having got 44.74ha while Mr Mwaita got 23.50ha and Mr Cheruiyot 1,955ha. The English slang word for this is 'bullocks!'
A few months ago, it was this same former president Moi who said that leading a government is not a joke… “it is like driving a bus, whilst some are good passengers, some are pick-pockets...” can we by inference say that one of the pickpockets was his very own flesh and blood, Gideon? If so, pickpockets when caught are punished according to the law or sometimes the citizens arrange for an early meeting between the offender and their savior via a burning tyre. Moi should not try to cheat those he castigated as ignorati idioticus, unless of course some itch is bothering his conscience.
Further a-field, one of the projects Moi undertook is farming. On one of his latest ventures, he took into his possession, whether legally or not, a large wetland in the Ziwa area (an area between Eldoret and Kitale, near a small town called Moi’s Bridge, no doubt named after him). The farm is currently under horticulture. The wetland has been completely decimated, robbed of its wildlife (particularly two notable species: the now endangered Rothschild giraffe, and a small genetic pool of wild horses, birds, rare tortoise, snakes, small mammals and rodents.)
Those are the ones we know about, we don’t know about the ones we don’t know about! Most importantly, downstream, the very water upon which subsistence farmers used to depend have totally dried up. The old water catchment system has been totally destroyed, directly intefering with the water that flowed into the River Nzoia, and eventually lake Victoria. Is this the same person who is now saying he is interested in conservation? People can be fooled sometimes, but not all the time!
Mr Moi, the rules of engagement are simple. You must at all times take charge of those implementing your orders. None other than the Commander-in-Chief (of the Armed Forces) and Kenya at large understands this better, and so saying you are not responsible for the blunders in Mau does not do the trick.
Give us a break, Chief, and keep off those who are trying to right the wrongs you so blatantly did. Indeed I am drawn to the saying: Those who are doing should not be distracted by those who said it cannot be done. Retire in peace and save yourself the embarrassment. Let our children try to mend what can be recovered. As for the wetland you destroyed, plant some indigenous trees and try to restore what was originally there-for conservation's sake.
By Isaac Choge,
Director for Epidemiology for the Kwa-Zulu Natal Department of Health in South Africa. Written in his own capacity, not of the ignorati idioticus sub species.