Kenya: Kimunya ultimatum to rich land owners

marksimonbrown mark at
Wed Jan 12 16:00:03 GMT 2005

Kimunya ultimatum to rich land owners 

The Times, Kenya

By Tiner Mueni & George Kebasso 

LANDS and Settlements Minister Amos Kimunya yesterday issued a twelve-
month ultimatum to individuals who own over 1,000 acres of land that 
lies fallow to either develop or lose it to the state. 

Already, he disclosed, officials from his Ministry were identifying 
undeveloped large tracts of land with a view to having it forfeited 
to the state at the expiry of the notice. 

The Minister first issued the notice last June leading banks to 
refuse title deeds of undeveloped land as collateral for loans. 

Yesterday, Kimunya said that the situation on the ground was superb 
since he issued the statement adding that activities of land 
speculation had been heavily curtailed. He said some individuals had 
already complied with the notice and developed their plots while 
others were yet to do so. 

Meanwhile, Kimunya asked Members of Parliament to acquire copies of 
the Ndung'u report before making any criticisms. 

While refuting reports that the government had doctored the report 
and was implementing it selectively, Kimunya said each MP would be 
given a copy of the report to make them familiar with its contents. 

He said there has been a lot of noise on the report and asked those 
who were complaining that, "the report was doctored" to pick their 
copies from the government Press so that they can have the correct 

During yesterday's ceremony to flag off government vehicles intended 
for public service delivery in the Ministry, the Minister also moved 
to deny reports appearing in a section of the press that, there was 
impartiality in the sale of government houses to civil servants where 
a controversy has stemmed out of what is termed as ``biasim, 
impartiality and short-changed.'' 

The Standard newspaper reported yesterday in its lead story that, Top 
Ministry officials were summoned over `unfair tactics' with an outcry 
allegedly from junior civil servants that their seniors plotted to 
buy up government houses in an `unfair deal'. 

Asked to comment on this issue because it was happening under his 
nose, Kimunya said that, a few disgruntled people were out to 
undermine the Government's commitment to deliver its promises. He 
said the problem was building from competition for the purchase of 
the 181 government gazzeted houses earmarked for sale and 2,209 civil 
servants have applied to buy them. 

Junior civil servants who have so far expressed fears of being 
shortchanged in the purchase programme of these houses allege that, a 
conspiracy to block them from buying the houses they currently occupy 
has been hatched by Ministry officials whom they accused of changing 
the rules midstream to favour a few senior civil servants. 

However, the Minister in reacting to these claims said that people 
who moved into the houses later in August a month after their 
colleagues had purchased the houses in July were the ones falsely 
complaining that the purchasers were favoured. 

He urged the civil servants to apply for houses they can afford to 
purchase and stop complaining that they were being discriminated 

"I don't think that, it's possible for a person in the class of a 
Minister, Assistant Minister, Permanent Secretary or any high ranking 
government officer can compete with a junior civil servant in the 
category of a clerk or secretary in purchasing houses they occupy 
separately,". He said that, there are a clear guidelines provided for 
in this purchase programme, and each civil servant is required to 
apply for what is within his or her `means'. 

On the Ndung'u report, the Minister challenged MPs to use the 
services of their personal assistants that the Government had 
allocated to them, to explain to their constituents the contents in 
the report. 

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