Mau exit deadline needs to be
more realistic - Ruto
By Vitalis Kimutai
Three MPs from the South Rift region want the planned eviction of
15,000 families in Mau forest to be postponed.
Cheplaungu MP Isaac Ruto, Julius Kones (Konoin) and Benjamin
Langat (Ainamoi) and political activist Lucas Kirui on Saturday
said the October 30 deadline was not realistic.
“The residents should be given enough time to move out and must
first be compensated,” Ruto told The Sunday Standard. He said the
task force put in place recently by Prime Minister Raila Odinga to
look into the Mau issue would conclude its work and present a
comprehensive report until after March next year.
Dr Kones said the Government’s deadline was not realistic, and
that the restoration of Mau was a monumental task, which ought to
be carried out with care to avoid hurting the affected families.
“The Government deadline for the residents to move out is not
feasible unless it wants to carry out a military-type operation in
the area where humanitarian issues are not a concern,” Kones said.
Langat said the residents should be involved in conservation
issues and donor agencies should provide them with funds and tree
seedlings to plant in their farms.
“The Government should provide indigenous tree seedlings to the
residents and discourage exotic ones in order to conserve water
catchment areas,” Langat said.
He said the Government should be careful not to create a situation
like that which happened in 2005 when 33 churches and 26 schools
were burnt or brought down by security officers who evicted
residents from their farms.
The Ainamoi MP wondered why President Kibaki and Raila were keen
on evicting the residents by force after the Government ordered
them back to their farms.