News 2008


MP allocated land in Mau, report says

Story by NATION Team

18. July 2008

Bureti MP Franklin Bett is one of the leaders allocated land in Mau Forest.

However, the 10 hectares at Kerisoi Station in Kericho was declared illegal by the commission of inquiry into the irregular allocation of public land.

Lawyer Paul Ndung’u chaired the commission appointed by President Kibaki in 2003. The team handed over its report to the President in June, 2004.

The report, commonly known as “The Ndung’u Report” says that Mr Bett had been allocated land in the forest to put up his Frankways Sawmills in 1995.

The reason the Commission gave for revoking the MP’s title deed land was that the area was too big for a saw mill.

Mr Bett was one of the Rift Valley MPs who attended a press conference at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday to reject the Government’s plans to evict people from Mau Forest. He however left before the press conference started.

A total of 10 MPs from the province, led by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto, told farmers living in the forest to defy Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s directive.

At a stakeholders’ forum convened by the PM on Tuesday, it was resolved that those living in Mau forest should vacate before October.

Apart from Mr Bett, no other individual is mentioned in the Ndung’u report as being a beneficiary in the vast forest, which is the biggest water catchment area in the country.

But the report has pointed out that civic authorities including Bomet County Council and Elburgon Urban Council and cooperative societies like Kericho Rural Multipurpose Cooperative Society were allocated forest land illegally.

Clear policy

And a former Cabinet minister has blamed the Government over the raging Mau controversy, saying it lacks a clear policy.

Former Environment minister Newton Kulundu regretted that a ban he had imposed on settlements in the forest in Narok, Kericho and Bomet districts five years ago had since been lifted by his successors and the land used for farming.

Reported by Muchemi Wachira, Lucas Barasa and Odhiambo Orlale