You have power to solve land problem, President Kenyatta told

Laikipia Senator GG Kariuki. He led calls in the Senate for President Kenyatta to fix the land problem in Kenya saying he has the money and the power to do so June 20, 2013. FILE

Senators are of the opinion that President Kenyatta has the money and the power to fix the land problem in Kenya.

The senators alluded to the huge tracts of land owned by the President's family, his vast wealth and the clout that comes with the presidency as reason enough to solve the perennial displacement of people from their land.

“There’s no reason why (President) Uhuru should not change this country forever. He has the power; he doesn’t need any other power. He has the wealth; he doesn’t need any other wealth,” said Godfrey ‘GG’ Kariuki (Laikipia).

Mr Kariuki had initiated debate on his motion which “urges” the government to profile internally displaced people, so that it can deal with the problem and end the crisis.

He argued that for the last two decades, there have been IDPs, and the numbers keep rising, yet the government’s solutions appear to be piecemeal.

The eviction of people from their land, and the takeover of private property by squatters, Mr Kariuki added, had also increased the number of the IDPs.

“Nobody should come and settle on your property (without permission) when you have a government. There are laws against trespass. (Land grabbing and evictions) only happens because you have a corrupt system.

"All these problems are brought about by abuse of power, corruption and politicisation of the security apparatus,” said Mr Kariuki, who served the government of former President Moi in the powerful docket of internal security.

Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) said President Kenyatta had the chance to deal with the land-grabbing that has often been attributed to his father, Kenya’s first President, Jomo Kenyatta.

"I agree that we have an appropriate President to settle the matter of IDPs. When old Jomo came out of detention, he hardly had five acres of land,” said Prof Nyong’o.

Willing buyer, willing seller

He added that by the time Jomo Kenyatta left power, he had land “equivalent to a whole province” whose acquisition remains questionable to date, which President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family inherited.

President Kenyatta has answered the questions over his family land as one which was obtained on “a willing-buyer, willing-seller” basis.

“It will be important, if we’re going to solve the IDP problem, we must understand the genesis of the problem...if we are going to hold it by pretence, it will be there forever,” said Prof Nyong’o.

The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, in its report, accused “all post independence governments” of having failed “to honestly and adequately address land-related injustices that started with colonialism”.

The Senate came alive on Thursday afternoon as Senators debated on the resettlement of the internally displaced people in the country. There was a back and forth as senators engaged each other over the legitimacy of President Kenyatta.

Johnstone Muthama (Machakos) had a spat with Peter Mositet (Kajiado) and Paul Wamatangi (Kiambu) over his assertion that the presidency of Mr Kenyatta was contested. Mr Muthama said the Coalition for Reform and Democracy will continue to oppose the presidency of Mr Kenyatta.

But  Mr Mositet and Mr Wamatangi argued that in a democracy, once a leader is popularly elected and a determination made in court, even those who opposed him, should toe the line.

But Prof Nyong’o dismissed the notion saying it was wrong for senators as elected leaders to “sing like parrots”.