President Uhuru Kenyatta has nominated a former member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) defence team as the new National Land Commission chairperson.
Mr Gershom Otachi will become the second NLC chair following the end of Dr Muhammad Swazuri’s controversial six-year term, which saw him charged in court over a multi-million shilling land deal. Mr Otachi, currently the chair of Geothermal Development Corporation, served in the defense team of six Kenyans, including Mr Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at the ICC for crimes against humanity.
Mr Otachi, has been President Uhuru’s personal lawyer and co-owns Ogetto Otachi and Co advocates with solicitor General Kennedy Ogetto. He also represented former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali’s legal team during his trial at the International Criminal Court at The Hague over the 2007/08 post-election violence.
Former NLC Chair Mohammed Swazuri was stripped off his position due to a number of graft charges faces him as well as being involved in numerous shady deals at the commission. One of the most notable messes Swazuri was involved in was the Ruaraka Land saga, where he misadvised the government to pay 1.5B shillings to businessman Francis Mburu as compensation of a government owned land.
Otachi’s nomination was alongside the commissioners who will sit on the NLC. The nominated commissioners were former Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi, Prof James Tuitoek, Getrude Nduku Nguku, Reginald Okumu, former Labour Cabinet Secretary Samuel Kazungu Kambi, Ms Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji, Mr Alister Murimi Mutugi and former Isiolo Woman Rep Tiya Galgalo to serve as NLC commissioners.
The nomination of Kazungu Kambi, a former Labour CS as well as former Nyeri MP Esther Murungi have been viewed as political rewards by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The two who have been ardent supporters of President Uhuru Kenyatta have been in the cold for a while after losing their positions last election.