News 2008


Don’t politicise Mau evictions, says Ntimama



By Kipchumba Kemei, Steven Mkawale And Peter Mutai

Cabinet Minister William Ntimama has said environmental concerns should override political considerations in the protection of Mau forest.

Ntimama, who is also the Narok North MP, said the Government should evict illegal settlers in the forest to protect millions of lives, whose survival depends on the water tower.

"Politics should take a back seat and efforts taken to save this water catchment area. The Government should stop wasting time by calling unending consultative meetings," he said.

The minister said those with genuine claims should be compensated or resettled elsewhere.

Meanwhile, debate on the Mau Forest raged on when two MPs clashed over the intended eviction of squatters.

Molo MP Joseph Kiuna insisted the settlers must leave, while his Kuresoi colleague Zakayo Cheruiyot, urged the Government to consult widely.

"People must not be allowed to encroach on water catchment areas, they must be removed without further delay," said Kiuna.

The two were addressing a baraza in Kuresoi where Special Programmes Minister Naomi Shaban went to oversee the resettlement of displaced persons.

But Cheruiyot said there were underlying issues that needed to be addressed before the eviction.

Elsewhere, Bureti MP Franklin Bett has dismissed claims he is among beneficiaries of the Mau Forest incision as reported in the Ndung’u report.

Bett said the ten-hectare land he has in Kuresoi was leased to him by the forest department.

Speaking to The Standard on telephone, the ODM MP said he bought a saw mill from Kedowa Saw Mills for logging.

"I was leasing the land from the forest department and bought the sawmill from timber merchants from Kedowa in the now Kipkelion District," he said.