THE LANDS QUESTION

A story is told of a merchant who kept a bird in a cage. He was going to India a country where the bird originated from and he asked the bird whether he could bring something. The bird asked for its freedom but that was denied. So he asked the merchant to go to the jungle in India and announce its captivity to the free birds that were there. The merchant did so and no sooner had he began to speak than a wild bird, just like his own, fell senseless out of a tree on to the ground. The merchant thought that it must be a relative of his bird, and felt sad that he should have caused this death. When he got home, the bird asked him whether he had brought good news from India. ”No,” said the merchant, “I fear that my news is bad. One of your relatives collapsed and fell at my feet when I mentioned your captivity.

As soon as these words were spoken, the merchant bird collapsed and fell to the bottom of the cage.” The news of his kinsman death has killed him, too,” thought the merchant. Sorrowfully he picked up the bird and put it on a windowsill, at once the bird revived and flew to a nearby tree. “Now you know, the bird said, that what you thought was a disaster to me was in fact good news for me. And how the message, the suggestion of how to behave in order to free myself, was transmitted to me through you, my captor.” And the bird flew away, free at last. (Tales of Dervishes, Idries Shah, 1967)

This is a message to the various Alliances or any other political grouping who are behaving like the “merchant” by using the issue of land as a campaign strategy to woe voters. Land has been a very sensitive matter, as sensitive as the issue of religion in this country since pre- colonial period when our fore father’s went to the forest to fight the colonial masters not only to gain self rule but mostly to fight against the impact of the colonial land policies which led to inequality in land ownership and use, squatting and poverty. After independence many Kenyans thought that finally this issue would be dealt with and any one whose land was alienated would be compensated. But unfortunately that wasn’t the case as those who took power immediately began to amass for themselves and their families’ big chunks of land, awarded some to their political correct loyalist while others lost their rights to land ownership through culture and inheritance practices.

As a result many Kenyans have become squatters in their own country and others out of the necessity to own land or a place to settle down have encroached forest such as the Mau forest. Politicians need to be reminded that the land issue is one of the major cause of various political unrest during the 1992, 1997 and the famous post – election violence of 2007 that led to over 600,000 internally displaced persons, and close to 1,500 killed. Brothers are killing each other on a daily basis while others bury their elderly parents so as to shorten their stay here on earth for the sake of inheriting that piece of land.

Thus its is immoral for any political alliance or politician to try to insinuate or lie to us, we the” free birds” that when elected they will be able to carry out the land reform better than other competitors while in the real sense they have been in power/government for the past five years, some having the Ministry of lands as part of their docket which its main responsibility is to ensure that land reforms are implemented to the letter. We all agree that there has been and still exist historical injustices concerning the debate on land but what the Cord alliance is trying to do is create unnecessary tension and placing the Jubilee coalition on a windowsill making them fly away from this crucial matter that is of great concern to our socio-economic development and peace in our country. This is well seen by various constitutional bodies and security agents coming in protest to gag the whole debate on land.

In conclusion politicians need to understand that we have a constitution that has clearly stipulated ways on how to solve the issue of land and all they need is to implement it by forming the commission on lands, let TJRC fulfill its mandate on solving most of the historical injustices such as land, implement recommendations on various reports such as the Ndungu’s report on land and lastly to stop mutilating the constitution that we patriots overwhelmingly voted for.

ARTICLE BY,
DENNIS MWANIKI.
POLITICAL SCIENTIST.

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1 Comment

Filed under Politics

One response to “THE LANDS QUESTION

  1. cole mutis

    great over view of the situation in the election period

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