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The uncelebrated Maa warrior, land right activist, Pasha

From left to right, Jonathan Pasha, Environment CS Keriako Tobiko and Narok Governor Samuel Tunai.
From left to right, Jonathan Pasha, Environment CS Keriako Tobiko and Narok Governor Samuel Tunai.
The activist is reputed for having led peacemaking demonstrations for all Laikipia Maasai leaders bringing together former MP Matthew Lempurkel and MP Sarah Korere in Laikipia North in 2015.

BY LINET MINAYO

From the facial looks, he is cool, but interfere with his people’s (Maa) rights at whatever level, and you will regret ever living.

His name played out loud after the 2013 general elections when he in 2014 led a massive demonstration of you to the Kajiado County Assembly for openly displaying bias in county job interviews.

Jonathan Mpute ole Pasha says: “The county assembly at the time showed all manner of bias during jobs interviews. It was very unprofessional.”

This was at the time the then governor, David ole Nkedianye, was reorganising his new government after the 2010 constitution that gave birth to devolution in the counties.

Jonathan Pasha.
Jonathan Pasha.

Pasha’s masterly activism forced the ‘biased’ assembly to toe the line after the massive pressure from the Kajiado people.

At the time out of the 25 elected MCAs, only two were from the opposition thus giving the ruling party a free mode to pick whoever they deemed supported them in the election without looking at credentials in a bid to punish the governor, who was also from the opposition.

As mentioned above, Pasha has over the years handled various land disputes, border feuds between the community and others while operating under the Maa Unity Agenda where he served as secretary.

While also using the strength of numbers from the various youth congresses and alliances to demand the stay of the old Kenya/Uganda Railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi as the boundary between the Kamba and the Maasai communities along Kajiado/Machakos/Makueni stretch.

He led a tense meeting that was held at Emali town around 2016 to push for their demand. It paid off.

Pasha also led demonstrations at Iloodariak in Kajiado West following claims that non-local people had grabbed some 30, 000 hectares of land.

“This was a serious issue and when the matter was brought to my attention, we moved with speed to demand the rights of our people in 2014,” said Pasha.

Pasha and another colleague, the late Stephen ole Muesha were, however, arrested and placed in custody at Kiserian Police Post on allegation of taking part in an “illegal demo”.

The rights activist also led a demonstration with Maa women lobby group in Nairobi against the over 500 Laikipia cows shot dead by the police in 2017.

During the demos, he was arrested with Solomon Ole Kisemei but were later released without any charges.

Childhood

Born and raised in a normal Maasai polygamous set up back in the mid1970s at Arroi village, Mashuuru sub-County, Pasha once a warrior, joined the school in the early 1980s.

The Ilmeshuki age set warrior of Ilkaputiei Masai is a family man, a livestock/crops producer farmer and businessman.

“My engagement with community matters began while I was in high school. That was the time I had formed a current affairs club and recruited student members, teachers and non-teaching staff,” says Pasha.

Fighting for human rights, he says, begun while he was in college where he led fellow students to demand accountabilities, fairness and democratisation of students’ affairs, and leadership elections processes.

Outside Kajiado, Pasha helped the formation of Kajiado and Narok County congresses around 2010 and 2011.

“After being elected as communications and networking secretary of Kajiado County Congress/Lelero E’ Maa in 2013, I led it to make tough, hard and very costly elections-related decisions in the county,” said Pasha.

Maa land rights activist Jonathan ole Pasha - second right - with some of MUA members.
Maa land rights activist Jonathan ole Pasha – second right – with some of MUA members.

He ensured that all leaders seeking elective seats are vetted by the public.

Pasha is also a founder member of Engape E Maa Association that handles peace negotiations across the Maa nation in six counties across the country.

The activist is reputed for having led peacemaking demonstrations for all Laikipia Maasai leaders bringing together former MP Matthew Lempurkel and MP Sarah Korere in Laikipia North in 2015.

*Maa Unity Agenda*

Following the suppression by the state of both Kajiado/Narok congresses and later Engape E’ Maa associations, Pasha formed one other group, Maa Unity Agenda, which brought all the entire Maa communities in Kenya and Diaspora together for the very first time in history.

The agenda group was formed in early 2018 and brought together over 10 Maa clusters across the country.

They are; Baringo South (Ilchamus), Laikipia North (remnants of Laikipia Maasai left after the inter Maa wars in the 18th century), the Isiolo/Meru (the Ilnguesi Maasai living at Leparua ranch) sharing the Isiolo, Laikipia, Meru common borders.

Others are; Marsabit (the Rendlesham Maasai living at Laisamis and Loyiangalabi), Nakuru (Maa living in Naishasha, Natooli, Olchurai and Engilgil and Nairobi commonly referred to as MUA Capital City Cluster (3Cs).

In the Eastern Province there is the Machakos cluster (all Maa living in Mwingi, Kitui, Machakos and Makueni).

In the Coast region is the Pwani cluster (all the Maa living at the entire larger Coast province).

There are also Samburu, Narok and Kajiado and Diaspora clusters. The Diaspora cluster is for all the Maa people living outside the country.

Through MUA, which is Pasha’s brainchild, and which he represents as the national coordinator, he engages in peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and binding together all the Maa nation members with or without boundaries.

MUA supported the national government in the Narok Mao water canopy reclamation, restoration and relocation of all illegal settlers.

Pasha led several live national presser conferences in support of the same. MUA also supported the Isiria/Ilwausinkishu peace process in Trans-Mara West.

Jonathan Pasha.
Jonathan Pasha.

MUA has also organised and held peacekeeping meetings in the Kiserian area Baringo South and Baragoi area in Samburu against rampant cattle rustling caused by insecurity.

Before then, many lives had been lost in the area. The same peace missions have held the same drive in Lemek group ranch in Narok West where the military took over 5000 hector’s of Maa land for military forceful occupation without compensating it.

“I led demonstrations there, where some of us were intimidated by the deep state operatives,” adds Pasha.

Pasha also led the inter-Maa denominations for reconciliation and forgiveness prayer rally at Oloonongot Nomayianat ground in the satellite Nakuru Cluster on December 19, 2019.

“MUA held its first anniversary on 18th August 2019 where our strategic master plan was launched at The Smiths Hotel in Ongata Rongai,” said Pasha.

 

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