Wed. Sep 30th, 2020

County Post

Accurate and Clear

The Racket surrounding Moi’s 2000-acre Tea Estate

4 min read
Hundreds of Kiptagich residents protesting exploitation by Kiptagich Tea Estate

The wealthy politicians of this country are to blame for the fall of the largest indigenous montane forest in East Africa from extinction in Mau Forest Complex.

Though the media outlets have carried several stories of these politicians calling for Mau forest protection, none of them mean good for its shelter.

While it is perceived that young people of this country are “thieves” with no moral values, the experienced politicians have dark history that will never be forgiven by the poor.

The high impact weather that is presently being witnessed is associated with destruction of Mau forest that is known as the source of up to 12 rivers feeding its water to river Nile.

Side view of Kiptagich tea farm owned by Moi’s family

Indeed, “a fish rots from the head down.”  In 1978, a former head of state acquired 2000 acres of land that is currently occupied by Kiptagich Tea Estates, the complex was opened up to senior officials in his government and later in late 90s to poor people who got small pieces.

While some reports indicate that the long-serving head of state grabbed forest land, reports from the family claims that the land belonged to Maasai Trust Land and was given to him by the late community leader William Ntimama.

“After setting up a tea factory, Moi deliberately allocated chunks of land near his, he gave the rest to powerful officers in his government and Kanu officials for reasons well known to him” John Sigilai said

 The story of “Who owns chunks of land” within Mau forest complex is a tool that is perennially ignited to serve certain interests during electioneering periods.

During the Grand Coalition government, Co-principal Raila Odinga led a force that sought to reclaim the grabbed forest lands though his objective appeared a revenge scheme to Moi who tortured him in 80s for attempts to overthrow his rule.

Kuresoi South MP Joseph Tonui addressing locals protesting oppression by the estate

A local analyst doubted the intention of Raila saying he championed for the naming of the big fishes because he didn’t have any investment in the area.

“If Raila is a genuine patriot, he could not have shaken hands with Uhuru months after he led protests across the country claiming to be corrupt. Did Uhuru changed to be good so that he came to his camp? Raila is a political broker” the analysts identified by one name as Koech said

Many Commissions of inquiries and task forces have been formed to look into historical injustices and messes threatening our livelihood but the findings are shelved in government records with no subsequent action.

Wealthy families controlling national politics have a stake in looting the country’s fortune in different sectors and areas of the country using a network haunt all of them in case stringent measures are enforced. This is the reason as to why dynasties are afraid of the rise of hustler who might team up with the poor to reclaim lost public money.

The poor roads that the Moi’s family lorries use while collecting green tea

Both Kenyatta and Moi’s families equally own millions of acres of land in this country with how they were acquired remaining known only to them. This is why the recurrent songs of “fight against corruption” will never materialize. They only exist on media platforms but not in hearts and minds of the watchdogs.  

“So long as the DCIs, Ministers, DPPs and IGs are politically appointed, none of them will ever pursue their masters linked with loss of public money. This will only come when the poor rise to demand their dues” a politician from Narok said

In bid, to protect water sources within Mau Complex, none of the rich has ever been touched not even be evicted. Only thousands of voiceless citizens have been kicked out to IDP camps.

The big names that reportedly own the chunks of land include; Joshua Kulei, a former Private Secretary to former President Daniel Arap Moi, former Kanu official Hosea Kiplagat, former Cabinet minister Franklin Bett and Paul Sang.

Other includes former powerful internal security PS Zakayo Cheruiyot listed as one of the biggest landowners in the forest complex, former lands commissioner Sammy Mwaita and former State House comptroller John Lokorio.

According to earlier search at the Registrar of Companies, Kelewa Enterprises; Kapkembu Tea Factory; Kaptagich Tea Estates and Ololarusi Investment Farm hold 18,102 hectares combined.

The inter-ministerial committee was tasked to look into the matter comprised of Cabinet ministers George Saitoti (Internal Security)-late, James Orengo (Lands), Naomi Shaaban (Special Programmes), Water minister Charity Ngilu and her Environment counterpart John Michuki.

 Kiptagich Tea Estate solely owned by Moi’s family has of late hit the news headlines for a series of demonstration by workers who decry oppression, underpay and harassment.

While factories managed by Kenya Tea Development Association (KTDA) pay farmers sh. 32 per kilo of green tea, Moi’s pay sh. 20 and to add an insult, payments are marred with delays.

The former senior officers who own large parcels of learn near the estate serve as out growers supplying green tea to the factory to supplement what they harvest.

However, factory workers have been complaining of shoddy working conditions, no hospital, and schools for their children while locals fault the family for failing to establish even a single project for them.  

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