19February2018

Mwathane National Land Commission taskforce fails the integrity test

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National Land Commission taskforce fails the integrity test

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Commission must first past the integrity test to get public support.

The National Land Commission chairman Dr Muhammad Swazuri at a past event in Nairobi. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | FILE The National Land Commission chairman Dr Muhammad Swazuri at a past event in Nairobi. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | FILE

By Gabriel Dolan

Mention Mpeketoni, Wajir, Maasai or Rift Valley and the conversation quickly turns to the issue of historical land injustices.

Article 67 (2) (e) of the Constitution mandated the National Land Commission (NLC) to investigate “present and historical land injustices, and recommend appropriate redress”.

Two months ago, the NLC gazetted a taskforce committee to assist them in this work but to the surprise of many, the team included two former MPs who had been adversely mentioned in government commissions of inquiry.

Mr Wilberforce Kisiero gets several negative mentions in the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Tribal Clashes popularly known as the Akiwumi Report.

In paragraphs 401 and 428 of the report, he is cited for publicly preaching that “madoadoa be forcibly removed from Endebess location, Trans Nzoia and also Mount Elgon District”.

In its final recommendations, the report states emphatically in paragraph 527 1-2 that Mr Kisiero should “be investigated with a view to prosecution”.

The name of Mr Kasim Bakari Mwamzandi, on the other hand, is found in The Commission of Inquiry into the Illegal/Irregular Allocation of Public Land — popularly known as the Ndung’u Commission — as being one of the beneficiaries of illegally allocated land on a chain of islands off Shimoni Island, which were under the mandate of KWS.

PETITON NOT ACKNOWLEDGED

The two parcels of land allocated to Mr Mwamzandi were Kwale/Shimoni/489 and Kwale/Shimoni/495 and details of the allocation can be found on Page 161 of the report.

Three weeks ago, civil society organisations in the Coast, including Haki Yetu, Ujamaa and Muhuri, wrote to NLC chairman Mohamed Swazuri expressing their objections to these appointments. Their petition has not been acknowledged and the two named individuals will soon be traversing the country collecting public views.

The NLC may insist that Chapter Six of Constitution does not apply here as the taskforce comprises only of co-opted members and not public officers. They may even argue that NLC Act 2012 allows them to set up committees “whose knowledge and skills are necessary” without any reference to matters of integrity.

However, Article 10 (2) (c) of Constitution states clearly that principles of “good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability” applies to whoever makes or implements public policy decisions.

NLC had a public obligation to investigate and prove that the matters mentioned in the two Public Inquiries were addressed.

Beyond the issue of law, is the matter of morality and to appoint two people identified in public commissions of inquiry as hate mongers and corrupt is highly reprehensible.

Surely, the NLC must see the irony of the fact that the taskforce is required because of the very failure in the past to investigate such people.

NLC has many challenges to face but it must first past the integrity test to get public support. It should also tell us if any commissioner ever benefited from unlawful allocation of public land.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @GabrielDolan1.

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