Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Press Release: KGWA Commends Uhuru's Handling Of Land Issue

Nairobi 21 January, 2015 The Kenya Ghost Worker Alliance has applauded the Government of Kenya's handling of the land crisis affecting the country saying that this should serve as a model for dealing with the public wage crisis.

KGWA Secretary General, Casper Mwakazi, said he was encouraged by the fact that while President Uhuru Kenyatta had rightly condemned the practice of land grabbing, he had also elected not to victimize innocent land grabbers. "We commend the President for upholding this country's long tradition of tolerance for souls whose only crime is to be on the wrong side of the law," he said.

Across the country, the government has identified numerous cases of irregularly allocated land but is yet to prosecute, or even name, any culprits. Recent examples include 500,000 acres in Lamu given to 22 companies whose directors remain anonymous, as well as a 134-acre plot in Nairobi grabbed by equally nameless public officials reportedly including 40 Members of Parliament. Just this week, the government sent in riot police to protect a wall illegally constructed by unknown investors across a school playground.

"If the government carries on with this spirit, it will certainly bode well for the ... negotiations we hope to start over the fate of our public sector members," said Mr Mwakazi. Last year, the KGWA condemned what it described as the "demonization of ghost workers" after the Uhuru administration blamed them for the ballooning public wage bill and threatened to fire over 12,000 of their number. The Alliance has called for talks to deal with the grave issue.

Mr Mwakazi noted that the government had initially erred by seeking to exorcise the ghost workers from the payroll instead of protecting them, as it was land grabbers and poachers. "We are just asking to be treated the same as other citizens of this great republic," he said.

The Secretary General said the government had now demonstrated that it did not have agree with what some citizens did in order to defend to the death their right to do it. "There is reason to hope that the differences we have with the administration will not be allowed to stand in the way of achieving an agreement. We will soon be floating proposals to resurrect the good standing of our members." he said.

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