"The political, environmental,
social and economic changes since then have made the Act irrelevant",
says Dominic Walubengo, the director of Forest Action Network.23
Initially the Ogieks
were to get a trust land as happened to many others but this was
declared free land after the Ogieks refused to take up the land
since it was not convenient to their cultural and economic set up.
Three years later Ogieks
who were living on the Lake Nakuru settlement scheme were also evicted
and in 1977 another group of Ogieks was evicted from Keringet Forest.
The last group was evicted in 1980 from Nessuit and Marioshoni finalising
the final eviction of the Ogiek from their lands. In 1988 all schools
in Kiptunga, Baraget, Marioshoni, Kaprop and Dosua forest were closed
down. All the houses in Mau East forest were torched by forest guards
and Administration police following a government directive.
The fate of the Ogiek
remained unknown until 1989 when the then Nakuru District Commissioner,
Jonah Anguka announced that the Ogieks would be settled in Ndoinet
forest. Disturbed by the continued loss of their ancestral land
the Ogiek clan elders in 1990 visited the then Rift Valley Provincial
Commissioner, Yusuf Haji, and presented a memorandum of complaints
over their ancestral land. A year later, Haji announced that the
government had agreed to settle the Ogieks in their ancestral land.
In June 1992, the then
Nakuru DC, Ishmael Chelang'a, ordered all schools in the forest
to be opened and in August, the same year, Chelang'a led a group
of Ogiek elders to State House, Nakuru where they presented a memorandum
to President Daniel arap Moi. This was first time that the Ogieks
had a direct chance to speak to the president and they left State
House thinking that the matter of their ancestral land had been
settled. The thought on many people was that this could have been
an election gimmick since the country was going through the election
The 1992 general elections
saw multi-party democracy in Kenya and President Daniel arap Moi
won the elections. The Ogieks had voted for the ruling party Kenya
African National Union (KANU) hoping that this would in turn get
them a favourable hearing from the government. After the elections
the Ogiek got a representative in February 1993 at the local county
council when Hezron Chemosi was appointed a nominated councillor.
As if that was not enough
the government gazetted Marioshoni, Baraget and Nessuit locations
in March 1993. This was the first official recognition that these
were settlement areas and administration areas to be under a chief.
And in November 1993 chiefs and sub-chiefs were appointed in the
The first warning that
the Ogiek land was in danger came in February 1994 when the then
Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner (PC), Ishmael Chelang'a, convened
an Ogiek elders meeting at Nessuit Primary School. He advised them
to arrange how they will share their ancestral land as outside forces
were out to grab it. He promised them that he would press for their
The reign of Chelang'a
was perhaps the best for the Ogieks and in October 1994 he even
released plot numbers where the Ogieks were to be settled as they
awaited the official de-gazettment of the forest. That was the end
of any form of promise to the Ogiek.
In February 1995 some
suspect surveying of Ogiek land started in Nessuit and soon spread
to other parts of the new locations. But it appears that by then
the provincial administration was for the settlement of the Ogiek.
For on June 13, 1995
the then Nakuru DC, Aden Noor, held a public meeting at Nessuit
and gave out forms which were to be used in applying for land in
the Mauche Settlement Scheme. Noor informed the Ogieks that they
would only get five-acres per household from their ancestral land.
Nothing was said about the balance of land.
Mauche was short for
The following day, a
delegation of 59 Ogieks travelled to President Moi's upcountry home
at Kabarak and expressed fear that their land would be taken away
by grabbers if they were to be given five-acres only. And on June
16, 1995 the Ogiek's rejected Noor's proposal of five-acres. The
Ogieks later explained the decision in a memorandum sent to members
of parliament that read in part: