News 2008


Ignore October 30 deadline, minister tells Mau squatters



By Alex Kiprotich

An assistant minister has called on people living in Mau Forest to ignore the Government’s eviction notice unless alternative land for resettlement is offered.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Assistant minister William Cheptumo said the October 30 deadline given to the Mau settlers was not tenable, unless the Government allocated them alternative land.

"The October deadline should be ignored unless the Government also meets the deadline to make alternative land available," he said.

Cheptumo said the impression created that Rift Valley MPs were against people moving out of Mau Forest was wrong. The Baringo North MP said the MPs were concerned about the plight of thousands of settlers who have valid title deeds and cannot just be evicted.

"We are not against the removal of people from the water catchment area, but the exercise must be done in a humane manner," he said.

Cheptumo said it was wrong for the Government to advocate the eviction of people who had legally been settled on the land.

"These people were removed in 2004 and last year, President Kibaki ordered them back. So the question is what is going on?" he said.

Rift Valley MPs have urged the affected families not to move out until they are fully compensated. But National Heritage minister William Ntimama said they must be removed.