Am reserving my comments on this to be published later
The title of post is credited to the KTN reporter who coined it
Raila: Kalenjin MPs met Kibaki, but our stand on Mau remains
Prime Minister Raila Odinga spoke to OSCAR OBONYO about the Mau forest crisis and the many allegations against him.
Question: The Cabinet recently approved the Mau Forest Complex taskforce report. When will the eviction begin? ANSWER: Everybody is in agreement that the Mau must be restored because the consequences are grave. Evictions will start immediately for those who have moved into the forest without proper documentation. Others will move out in phases as recommended in the report. Peasants and other holders of genuine land title deeds will be relocated and compensated accordingly. However, the same is not true about land grabbers with 20 hectares and above.
Q: What is your reaction to Gema’s protests that you should first compensate post-election violence IDPs? A: This is diversionary. They should address the issue of IDPs separately without linking it to the Mau.
Q: A number of those listed in the report you recently tabled in Parliament, including two MPs, hail from Rift Valley — where your party enjoys a huge following. Are you not afraid of a political backlash?
A: Rift Valley residents supported me in large numbers in 2007 elections and majority still do and support my stand on the Mau. Rift Valley is an expansive cosmopolitan region and the politicians largely critical of me are those defending individual interests. Q: Some have been critical of your handling of the Mau question. A: If you look back, it has been one excuse after another. Initially, they complained about being short-changed in the allocation of Cabinet slots and demanded that one of the posts of Deputy Prime Minister be reserved for Rift Valley. Then followed demands for the release of youths (suspects of post-election violence) from jails, before the lamentations over conservation of the Mau set in. In between, they continued shifting positions on The Hague or Local Tribunal options and staged spirited demands that one among them be elevated to the position of deputy party leader. And during by-elections in the region, some, like Isaac Ruto, openly campaigned for UDM and Kanu candidates. Their agenda is purely political and I am now used to it.
Q: Are you suggesting that their concerns are not credible?
A: Most of them are not. On the Cabinet, for instance, I had six slots for the province and I gave out five to members of the Kalenjin community, one to the Maasai and zero to Turkana, Samburu and the rest. Strangely it is a section of the Kalenjin legislators who are complaining! As for the youths, I asked the Attorney General to address the matter and he did. And although they have stated my office is powerless, when it suits them they claim I have crafted the Waki-list with the intention of fixing members of the community. Over the Mau, our language is not different, except that they have given a set of ultimatums. The whole idea is to portray Raila as the betrayer of the people, while they are the defenders of the people. Q: But isn’t that the case, considering that you are going against the wishes of your supporters?
A: If I was their enemy, I would have gone the (Environment minister, John) Michuki way, by sending in a force to kick them out immediately and not by setting up a taskforce for recommendations. Unknown to many, there are a host of impatient ministers who are unhappy with my rather slow and cautious manner of handling the Mau issue. Q: What do you make of the recent meeting between President Kibaki and a section of Rift Valley MPs led by William Ruto over the Mau?
A: I was aware of the meeting and I have since learnt that it was held at the request of the MPs. Nonetheless, our stand on the Mau, essentially remains the same. Q: How is your relationship with Ruto?
A: We have no serious political differences.
Q: Finally, shed some light on the Cabinet’s TJRC option. Was the decision arrived at unanimously?
A: It could not have been unanimous. It took three consecutive meetings to arrive at a decision. We discussed exhaustively on the various options available and agreed that TJRC was the best way forward.
Q: What would you say about claims that the TJRC option is a political decision aimed at shielding Cabinet colleagues (who may be in the Waki-list of suspects) against prosecution? A: Such an assessment is wrong considering that it is based on the misconception of the TJRC option. TJRC will not try suspects of the post-election violence. That task will be undertaken by the local courts as well as the ICC, if it deems it fit. STILL CONFUSING HERE WHICH LOCAL COURTS DOES HE MEAN? WHEN THEY HAVE SHUT DOWN THE IDEA OF SPECIAL TRIBUNAL??
R means first reforming the judiciary, AG chambers, public prosecutor's office and investigative capacity of police, then having the local courts deal with small fish involved in PEV...while the masterminds will be netted by Ocampo's ICC.
I can see that even within the cabinet - there still exists a lot of confusion about the TJRC.....
The TJRC does not and will not have any prosecution ability. The STK option has literally been shut down. Gitobu's proposal may end nowhere but I can now see Mutula Kilonzo has jumped to support it.
Just these two caucuses (Mutula's and Gitobu's) combining may still not match Uhuru and Ruto's ability to mobilize slightly above 1/3 MPs.
Reformed local courts and the ICC may be the two institutions to deal with PEV.