Africa

Kenya: NLC Member Writes to Chair Swazuri to Quit

A MEMBER of the National Land Commission wants chairman Muhammad Swazuri to resign for failing to "take us to the promised land".

Commissioner Abdulkadir Khalif has written a personal letter to Swazuri and Lands Secretary Charity Ngilu asking them to step aside for "stagnating land reforms".

In what appears to be cracks in the NLC as a result of the rise in high profile land dispute cases across the country, Khalif accused the two leaders of presiding over a regime that has "created a fertile environment for extensive and blatant land grabbing".

"By so doing, you have taken impunity to a level never seen before and you do not seem to be worried about it," Khalif says in the letter, dated January 26, 2014.

Yesterday Swazuri confirmed having received the letter, but said he will only comment later.

Khalif says the two leaders' inability to provide a clear direction on land management has emboldened grabbers and increased the mismanagement of natural resources.

"Never in the history of Kenya has so much land fraud been committed by so few against so many in so short a time," he states.

The two have been on the spot in recent weeks, following the grabbing of the Lang'ata Primary School playground by powerful individuals within the Jubilee administration.

Ngilu and Swazuri came under intense pressure to unmask the faces behind the grabbing of the land. The pressure escalated after pupils were teargassed by the police when they returned to school from holidays prolonged by the teachers' strike and protested the fencing off of their playfield.

In his letter, Khalif says under Ngilu and Swazuri the culture of land grabbing had evolved from the seizure of public to private and community land too.

"For more than a year-and-a-half you engaged in public spats on which one of the institutions you lead should do what function, as if it was not defined in law," he says.

The failure by the NLC and the ministry to dialogue and resolves their differences saw the former seek redress in the Supreme Court.

The court gave the two institutions a 90-day period to address issues before and obtain an out-of-court resolution.

The period ends today and the parties are expected in court.

The two sides had several meetings mediated by President Uhuru Kenyatta and reached six specific resolutions and a further three-point undertaking to unlock the impasse.

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