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February 21, 2019

Corridors of Power

National Land Commission Chairman Muhamed Swazuri during a seminar with land commissioners at Panafric hotel yesterday. photo/PATRICK VIDIJA
National Land Commission Chairman Muhamed Swazuri during a seminar with land commissioners at Panafric hotel yesterday. photo/PATRICK VIDIJA

there is anxiety and confusion at the National Land Commission after chairman Muhammad Swazuri was charged in court over Standard Guage Railway compensations. Some staff have not been working while others are worried that they could be next to be arrested. So bad is the situation that the land registry remained closed for most of last week. Some officers from the registry were chared in court with Swazuri and those left behind have not opened the registry. Hundreds of people who went to conduct searches have been frustrated and a group of civil society activits are planning a media conference on Sunday to demand that NLC be disbanded.

Anxiety has gripped Brand Kenya and the Export Promotion Council ahead of the impending merger of the two institutions. On July 31 during the Kenya Trade Week at KICC, Industrialisation and Trade minister Peter Munya announced the merger intended to avoid duplication and wastage of resources. This has seen heightened lobbying by top officials of the agency clamouring to be retained in the new formation, with many fearing that they may be left out. Whereas top officials are in panic mode, some of the junior staff are elated that the new arrangements will come with good tidings and want it sooner than later.

Two months ago the country was treated to a countrywide crackdown on contraband goods. There were daily dramatic raids and public arrests of those behind the illegal trade with seizure of many fakes. But this month, little has been heard about the operation which was touted to be the panacea for unemployment and dumping. Corridors has learnt that the team ran out of steam after vested interests fought back and senior government officials politicised the issue. The fight against contraband it is feared, could close the taps of political campaign financing.

An MP from Nyanza who lost an appeal is the talk of town. The youthful legislator has refused to rent or even take advantage of a mortgage facility offered by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to buy a house in Nairobi. The MP shuttles from Mombasa to Nairobi every time Parliament is in session. His colleagues in the House were heard wondering what rationale the MP uses to choose such a lifestyle, spending about Sh20,000 on return tickets than renting a house in Nairobi which is cheaper and more convenient.

Did a senior leader in Parliament receive Sh5 million cash to help kill the sugar report? Rumours have been flying allover that the man was paid his money last week by well-known sugar barons who wanted the Kanini Kega report thrown out. The man, we are told, then went overdrive to mobilise MPs from both sides of the house to defeat the report.

The man who boasts of being untouchable must be worried after officers from the multi-agency team leading demolitions visited the site this week.

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