Balala challenges Raila, Orengo to come clean on land grabbing
Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has asked former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Lands Minister James Orengo to come out and answer questions on the land grabbing scandal tainting their tenure in office.
Mr Orengo was in-charge of the Lands docket in the grand coalition government.
It has been alleged that the recently unearthed illegal land allocations in Lamu happened under Mr Orengo’s watch in the ministry.
Mr Balala, who was once a close ally of Mr Odinga but fell out with him when the former premier fired him from his Tourism ministerial docket, said the rights of the Coast people had been undermined by the two leaders.
Mr Balala urged Kenyans especially coast people to give the Jubilee government time to govern maintaining that they will deliver to their hopes, aspirations and desires of getting their rights.
“We were in government now. I was in ODM during those days of playing games. Double speak and rhetorical political statements are gone. This is time for action,” said Mr Balala.
‘THE TWO WERE AWARE’
He insisted that the two leaders were aware of what was going on in regard to land grabbing.
Mr Balala said it was clear the Lands docket was under ODM and was under the leadership of Mr Orengo who, together with Mr Odinga, should come out very clearly and answer to the land grabbing scandal that happened under their watch.
The CS said although land grabbing has been witnessed countrywide, the coast region has borne the blunt of the issue has leading the killings of more than 80 people in Lamu County.
“We are government responsible for the whole country. We must solve the issue of land in Rift Valley, Coast region and other areas where poor Kenyans are suffering because of political rhetoric being escalated during campaigns and we must stop it once and for all,” he added.
He at the same time congratulated Lands CS Charity Ngilu urging her to go further in revealing the rot in the ministry.
When asked why the government had started with Lamu, Mr Balala said, “We are aware land has been grabbed since 1963 but we must start from somewhere. We need to address the current situation where we are losing lives,” he added.
Meanwhile interim directors of Upeo Limited whose title deed was among those revoked have condemned the move insisting that they acquired the land legally.
Mr Hamadi Boga, Maimuna Mwidau and Naomi Sidi refuted claims that they were beneficiaries of the allotment of Shella Ranch claiming that they followed due procedure in acquiring the Shella Ranch in Lamu at a cost of around 108 million.
Speaking at a press conference in Mombasa the directors said 465 members are all inhabitants of the coast with an intention of investing in the Lapsset project.
“The original owners of Shela Ranch are well known. We were not beneficiaries of any government or ministerial allocation.
We have no apologies to make to anyone wanting to invest in our own territory.
None of us are grabbers; we are investors from the coast who have united to invest within our county.
We were able to purchase the 5400 acres of land following due process. The records are at the Ministry of Lands,” said Ms Sidi.