Move to resettle Mau evictees in Narok opposed

By Jephitha Mwai On Wed, 6 Nov, 2019 10:47 | 2 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

The move by a section of Rift Valley politicians to raise funds and resettle families evicted from Maasai Mau Forest has elicited sharp reactions from leaders in Narok County.

A section of Maasai elders, who met in Narok town on Tuesday, termed the move to resettle the families in Narok as political.

They said the 3,500 families should be resettled in their counties of origin.

“We have seen some Bomet and Kericho leaders fundraising to buy land in some areas in Narok South to resettle these people. We know this is a plot to have them vote here in 2022 again and we will not allow,” said Jackson ole Kamoe, the chairman of the Mau Forest Conservation Group.

He was reacting to report that politicians from the Rift Valley had purchased 24-acre land in Tendwet, Narok South Constituency to resettle some of the evicted families.

When making the announcement on Sunday in Kericho County, Senator Aaron Cheruiyot said the decision was arrived at by the leaders after the government refused to negotiate on the resettling plan of the 60,000 Maasai Mau forest settlers whose fate was sealed on November 1.

Elected leaders from the region are each contributing Sh100,000 to raise at least Sh100 million to resettle the 60,000 people evicted from the Mau Forest complex in phase I and II evictions.

Mr Kamoe and his group hailed the government’s move to remove the settlers after 30 years of push and pull, saying it would be prudent if the Rift Valley politicians bought land for the settlers in their home counties.

Former chairman of the defunct Narok County Council, Kelena ole Nchoe, and retired chief, Lucas Kudate, said resettling the evictees in Narok  was a scheme by local politicians to retain their voting bases.

The elders have, however, asked the members of the community to desist from selling their land, saying resettling them near the same forest poses a threat to the ecosystem.

Ole Nchoe asked the national government to take over the trust land from the county government, saying the county failed to secure the land.

The elders concerns come barely days after South Rift politicians launched a funds drive to buy land to resettle the Mau evictees.

Meanwhile, nominated MP David Sankok has called on the Interior ministry to arrest fraudsters who sold gazetted forest land to members of the public.

He called on Rift Valley County Commissioner George Natembeya to ensure to ensure the culprits are brought to justice.