LAND CRISIS IN KENYA.
|Loss of land and the worsening plight of landless squatters were the primary promises that Kibaki promised Kenyans that he will solve once in power. Today More than 140 people have lost their lives in land clashes in Mt. Elgon region. It is therefore, painfully ironic to Kenyans that the government of Mr. Kibaki is now waging war against peasants and squatters that voted for him in its bid to hold on to power come the year 2007.
If we go back into dictator Moi’s regime that took power in 1978, the Kenyan economy was characterised by two major crisis; unemployment and landlessness. Landlessness forced many Kenyans into urban centers; Nomadic communities were deprived of traditional grazing lands for political and economical reasons and were forced to settle into areas that were already overpopulated. When Kibaki took over the government 2002, Kenyans thought that land crisis will be solved.
Majority of Kenyan are living in shanty-towns and slums that have mushroomed to an extent of attracting tourist from the West. Many have been forced to rely on informal sector to eke out a living. Graduates are on the street prostituting to get money; families have broken in the name of looking for good life. Brothers are killing one another for land and the list is so long I can’t finish.
In spite of the so called rapid growth in economy, 90% of Kenyan’s populations still live on land. The large scale farmers who are wealthy Kenyan especially from central province control half of the good land. It is ironical that majority of squatters are Kikuyu, most of them concentrated in central and Rift-valley province. Capitalist Kikuyu farmers took or rather inherited subsistence land from the colonial masters and they have forced the rest to look for land in other areas of the country.
The transfer of ownership of land from the colonialist to Kenyans was on the basis of the willing buyer. Peasants were left with nothing after independence and up to now little have been done to rectify or alleviate the land problem. Landlessness has been ultimately been exploited by Successive governments that have capitalized on the opportunity for land grabbing. I doubt even if ODM-K will change the situation if it takes power 2007.
In desire to hold on power, Kibaki’s government has portioned out valuable of good arable land to small circle of politicians and his friends through corrupt means. Large tracts of Kenya land have been taken for internationally-sponsored game reserves and flora and fauna research, as well as the international companies, plantations and exotic commercial crops for export. In Sweden, the embassy staffs are grabbing land. Land, Land, Land.
Many Kenyans have died in Trans-Nzoia District, Nyeri District, Laikipia District, and many other regions just for land. Now it is in Mt. Elgon region, people have lost their family members, properties and land. The government is watching while people are perishing. What is the need of having a government that can not protect its citizens?
Munala Wa Munala
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