As i’m taken through the an eighth of the farm that is on this side i cannot help but wonder how much of land a single family can own. Acres upon acres of fertile land in a rainy place amount to millions of shillings today. Yet none of the families that have inherited the land live or stay here. Apparently, they do not bother to farm here. Afterall one is the head of a Kenyan parastatal while the other is in USA together with his 7 kids,the other lady is doing well after marrying a high ranking officer, while the other lady of the family is married to one of the directors of another parastatal just to mention a few. Clearly none of them can depend on the farms money for their living.
But there is more,the eighth of the land i have seen is just a drop in the ocean. There in the hills beyond, they own times two the size of this one. And two hills beyond this one they own another big chunk of fertile land. They have planted trees on most of them since they are never there to look after the shambas. The wife of the late mzee,the origin of all this wealth,is an old 98 year woman who suprisingly cooks for herself. I have been shocked beyond myself to see her with an axe cutting firewood, a chore i don’t think i can manage.
Retired president’s Moi’s farm in Bahati near Nakuru. This is what this large huge chunks of fertile land remind me of. We went there for an agricultural visit when i was young. And though the top of the notch technology was what were supposed to take note of, i noticed something else. This farm was so big that with our naked eyes we couldn’t see the end that was apparently “huko kwa ile mlima huko mbeleee”. That was how big that farm was. And to make matters worse or better depending on which point of view you look at it from, that was among the small farms that Moi owns. Even at that young age i knew that i did not want to own a farm in which i can’t walk from one end to another let alone see.
Which brings me to the question, how did this man end up owning such huge chunks of land? Atleast for moi i know he stole it or rather simply transferred it from state owned to his name. This man, owner of three big huge chunks of fertile land was a colonial chief. According to his grand daughter, chiefs then simply ” jigawiad” any amount of land they wanted. Then after independence when they were chucked out of office, they came and developed their lands. In those days he owned a 26 roomed house built like the colonialist houses.
We fight while you sit and collect our prize. This statement is running through my mind as i think of the people who struggled for kenya to get its independence only for 1963 to find them homeless people who had just been released from detention camps. While their fellow men, who helped the white man rule, enjoyed their toil of pleasing their colonialist rulers, at the expense of their kins men’s freedom and even life at times. The people who had resisted independence by assisting the white man quell resistance from africans came to enjoy the fruits that the people fighting for independence lost their lives for. Land. That was among the major motivating factors for upraisings such as mau mau to come up and fight so fiercely.
To make matters worse, the unfairness did not end there. With so many kenyans homeless and so few extremely wealthy,guess who comfortably educated their kids? Guess whose kids got good jobs and got more wealthy? Guess whose kids manage to take their children to good schools that are not limited to Kenya only? Guess whose grand kids comes to show their friend their late grand father’s huuge chunks of land that one can’t even walk from one end to another of the smallest farm?
Irony. Unfair. Cruel even. But you cannot blame them, can you? And who is them? Do you want to tell me that your grandfather would have done differently were he a colonial chief? But on second thoughts,why wasn’t your grandfather a colonial chief again?