Hundreds leave Mau Forest to avoid forcible eviction: PHOTOS

By , K24 Digital
On Sun, 1 Sep, 2019 14:15 | 3 mins read
Mau evictions
Residents leave their settlements in the Mau Forest on September 1, 2019, to avoid forcible evictions by the government. PHOTO | AMOS KIOK | EMOO FM

More than 300 police officers have been deployed to oversee phase two of Mau Forest evictions.

Hundreds of residents on Sunday voluntarily left the forest settlements, taking with them their livestock and other material belongings.

This comes barely days after Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya announced a 60-day period for evictions and planting of trees in the Mau Complex.

About 60,000 families have settled in the Mau Forest complex and their eviction has been snowballing into a dispute with lawyers from the Rift seeking to stop the evictions through the court.

Among those evicted are pupils who study in 15 primary schools built in the Mau Complex.

Meanwhile, two Members of Parliament from Kericho County have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and stop the looming evictions of more than 60,000 families settled around Maasai Mau trust land in Mau Forest complex.

This as the fate of about 2,000 school-going pupils hangs in the balance as schools re-open countrywide for the third term on Monday.

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot and Belgut MP Nelson Koech also want the Ministry of Lands, National Land Commission (NLC), Kenya National Human Rights commission (KNHRC) and the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) on validity and the legality of the title deeds and sale agreement held by inhabitants.

“All these are public servants whose salaries are paid for by these Kenyans who CS [Cabinet Secretary] Keraiko Tobiko wants to brutally disinherit,” Senator Cheruiyot said at a press conference held on Sunday at Serena Hotel.

“What is the official government position on this issue? Can a rogue minister just show up on your home and ask you to leave under any known law in Kenya?” he asked.

The legislators further accused President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto of reneging on pre-election promises to resettle and compensate the families around the forest.

“I want to know from the President and his deputy whether they have changed their public position on this issue,” said the Kericho Senator.

According to him, in June 2017, he stood side by side with President Kenyatta and his deputy as they wooed voters in the region to back their re-election bid.

Senator Cheruiyot revealed that as Jubilee administration they promised to build schools, hospitals, and roads if they voted for the two.

“The innocent citizens heeded their call, went to these primary schools, then being used as polling stations and voted for Jubilee Party. It is now on you Mr. President and your deputy to keep your side of the bargain,” he reiterated.

The planned phase two of the evictions, which are expected to be carried out by the government’s multi-sectoral security agencies comes a year after 9,000 families were evicted in Narok South.

On Friday, Environment CS Tobiko and Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya separately announced that families settled along the Mau complex would be evicted anytime to pave way for conservation of the water tower.

Five ranches, which are believed to have extended their land into the water tower, are targeted for reclamation.

Reported by Hillary Mageka, Peter Leshan and Amos Kiok.

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