News 2008


Pay us for damages, families tell Government



By Francis Ngige

Families evicted from Mt Kenya forest more than two decades ago want the Government to compensate them.

The families, now living in Mathira, also want the Government to give them alternative land alongside squatters who will be moved from Mau forest.

Mt Kenya Squatters Association secretary James Mugo said they were living in horrid conditions and needed urgent help.

He called on President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to ensure they were paid for losses they incurred when the State evicted them.

"We want the Government to include us in the compensation and resettlement programme alongside those leaving Mau forest," said Mugo. The more than 1,000 families were evicted from Hombe, Chehe and Ragati forests area, which are part of the larger Mt Kenya forest.

Speaking in Nyeri on Thursday, Mugo said the State had failed to fulfil its pledge to have them settled.

He said it would be unfair for the State to compensate families in Mau before looking into their plight.

Forceful eviction

The families were evicted from the expansive forest in 1989.

A few who made their way back were evicted in 1994 by a contingent of forest guards and Administration Police.

They have pitched tent in informal settlements in Muoroto.

Early this month, the Government announced plans to evict families that had encroached Mau forest.

Raila said the families would be resettled elsewhere once an audit is complete.