Thursday, July 30, 2009



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
July 27, 2009

Finally Raila Odinga has come out fighting. He has decided that enough is enough with bullies from the Rift Valley who think Kenya will come to a standstill if they don’t vote for Raila Odinga.

What Raila Odinga has come out saying is what Kenyans have been waiting for. He has been baby-sitting William Ruto for too long.

Finally has come to the painful realization that helping the likes of Ruto in their hour of need does not help anyone in the long run. A person who has grown up with bad politics will always play cheap dirty politics.

For the sake of Mau Forest, Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki must remain firm. They must speak the same language and save Mau Forest.

Yes, at one point, Raila gave the Rift Valley supporters the impression that the illegal land grabbers of the water catchment area would all be compensated. But now he realizes that there are so many conmen in the forest waiting to cash in on government windfall. If there are 70,000 squatters without title deeds, they must be flushed out now not tomorrow. The only people that need c some form of consideration are those with title deeds Michuki has identified.

It is time this government called Ruto’s bluff and dealt with Mau Forest firmly. If he and his followers want to return to KANU, so be it. After all that is the place they truly belong because it was during their time in KANU that Mau Forest was grabbed.

Another thing, there is no need having people in this coalition that have no respect for authority. The world over, if you differ with the head of government, you resign and join the back benches. This is what Ruto, Uhuru and other quarrelsome minister who has differed with Kibaki and Raila over Mau Forest should do. Kenya does no need such shortsighted leaders.

John Michuki is definitely good for the long term good of Kenya. As a country, we need our forests, lakes and rivers beyond 2012. I would rather we lose some votes from Rift Valley now but save our country from plunder and devastation. These Rift Valley votes will be worthless in the long run if our people and cattle die due to long droughts brought about by our reckless handling of our natural resources. Sometimes I think this behavior is beyond recklessness. It is naked greed which became part of the ruling class culture of the Nyayo era.

Come to think of it; what really unites Uhuru, Ruto and Gideon Moi in times like these? I am of the opinion that the only time these three musketeers come together is when it is time to cover up for their past deeds when they were in power.

They always zealously defend their territories under the guise of protecting the landless Rift Valley squatters when in fact they were the main beneficiaries who first grabbed tracks of forests before disposing of them to unsuspecting poor squatters. Now they would like us to believe that they are the new champions of the poor in the Rift Valley!

Anybody who sees the Mau Forest destruction in isolation misses the point. We must see it along side thousands of government lands and property in all our towns that were shamelessly grabbed in the dying days of the Moi era, mainly by the President’s men and women. Government houses, parastatal buildings including Provincial Administration offices were all grabbed by civil servants on authority of the President and successive Commissioners of Lands.

The era of grabbed Mau Forests must starkly remind us of the demise of Nyayo Bus Services, KEMRON wonder drug, the failed Nyayo car, and the collapse of KCC, Kenya Farmers Association, Kenya Meat Commission and all textile mills owned by the government.

During this era, healthcare, education, infrastructure and local authorities were all run down by the President’s men. Not even the Central Bank was spared. Kenya Posts and Telecommunications, NSSF and NHIF became cash cows for State operatives.
The only schools that benefitted from the Nyayo era were a select few in Rift Valley and Nairobi provinces; and tellingly Girls Schools for reasons that all Kenyans know about.

If corruption flourished in the Nyayo era, it was because our top leadership worshipped money and power. As the President went about with sacks of cash and dished it out to mama mbogas by the roadsides, the likes of Kuria Kanyingi, Paul Pattni and many others like them took the cue and realized the power of cash. They had learnt from the master what one could do with a modest education and abundance of cash.
It is this unbridled greed for wealth that destroyed our nation’s soul.

Now Mau Forest must continue to be devastated as we argue with those who should be in jail rather than in the cabinet!