Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Communities defy quit order
By JOSEPH KIMANI
Ogiek and Maasai
communities yesterday defied a government order to leave
The deadline for the
order issued two weeks ago by Narok District Commissioner Joseph
Kimiywi was on Monday.
Last week, Rift Valley
Provincial Commissioner Peter Raburu said that Enoosupukia was a
water catchment area and should not be inhabited.
Yesterday, elders from
the two communities said Enoosupukia was their ancestral land and
challenged the government to evict them.
"Enoosupukia is our
land. We do not understand the talk about water catchment areas
Speaking during a
meeting at the Enoosupukia Catholic Church grounds, the elders
accused two councillors of plotting to grab the land. "We are
not squatters; this is our land and the DC must stop harassing
The elders, mainly from
the Ogiek and Pulko, Ildamat and Keekonyoki Maasai clans, told the
meeting that their forefathers had been buried in the land, and
they would not leave it.
"We are ready to
die here because we have nowhere else to go. We have asked
President Moi to state clearly if the government has actually
ordered our eviction."
Ngong Diocese Bishop
Collins Davis and the Peace and Justice coordinator, Mr Godfrey
Lemiso, attended the meeting.
Bishop Davis said it was
wrong for the State to evict people from their ancestral land, and
called for dialogue between the government and the communities to
"Dialogue is the
way forward. The PC should come here and listen to you," said
The Ogiek Rural Integral
Project director, Mr Saina ole Sena, said the Ogiek and the Maasai
were spared eviction in 1992 because they lived on their ancestral
The Ogiek had lived in
the forest for centuries and it was shocking that the government
now wanted to evict them, he added.
Amid chants of "we
will not move!" Mr Sena told the group: "Do not fear.
Sleep well and continue bearing children to fill this land which
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