It is 40 years down the line and the Maa cry is still haunting us. First, it was the white man; now, it is the successors of the white man.
The whites killed 99 Maasai warriors in cold blood, and now some people called “Kedong’ Land Trust” want to forcibly evict more than 1,300 homes — people who have been residing in Kedong for the past 40years. It is a shame and a painful experience that this can happen under the watch of a government we so over-whelmingly elected into office.
The Maasai community faces a lot of historical land injustices — left, right, and centre — with no one giving any asylum or attention — and Kedong’ is one of these cases.
The land was initially a ranch owned by colonial settlers, and before then it was of course purely Maasai land. After the white settlers left, a group of people known as Kedong’ Land Trust decided to reward themselves with the 78,000-acre prime grazing land be. Later, a whole 30,000 acres was mysteriously transferred to another ghost owner called “Utheri wa Lari,” yet another mystery that needs to be uncovered.
Out of the remaining 48,000 acres, the government is eyeing 30,000 acres to start a dry port in partnership with the Ugandan government. Yet, there are people who have permanent homes on the land in question and have been living there for the past 40 years.
There has been no consultation with them whatsoever. The remaining 18,000 acres is to be fully claimed by the so-called Kedong’ Land Trust cartel, whose members are not known to date. In this whole scheme, the 1,300 families are assumed to be non-existent. The question remains: Why should we keep quiet as social injustices consume our people?
The Maa living in Kedong have their leadership in place and ever since this tussle began, they have been making efforts to protect and defend their land.
For one, they have filed a court case, which is currently active though moving sluggishly.
Second, they are arming themselves and preparing for the worst. Their fight is no longer theirs alone, as a group known as KMSA ( Kenya Maa Students Association), the Nakuru County Maa Youth Alliance, the Narok East Youth Alliance, and KCYA ( Kajiado County Youth Alliance) have vowed to stand with the people of Kedong’ as 21st century morans and defend the dignity and heritage of the Maa people.
The cry from the people of Kedong’ is to both the government of Kenya and all the Maa-speaking leaders in the government: We have suffered enough at the hands of cartels and a crooked justice system; we do not have anywhere else to go; and we are prepared to use all means at our disposal to face whoever tries to rob us of our home. We wouldn’t wish to see a replica of the Kedong’ massacre, and so we make our prayer to the president and Maa leaders: Don’t allow land cartels to deprive your people of their dignity and rights.
Raphael Kaai is the Organising Secretary, Kajiado County Youth Alliance