News 2008


Ogiek accuse MPs of blackmailing PM



By Steve Mkawale

Ogiek community has accused some Rift Valley politicians of attempting to hold Prime Minister Raila Odinga to ransom over the Mau Forest evictions.

The elders claimed a meeting held last weekend in Kericho, which the PM attended, was a scheme to arm-twist the Government into rescinding the decision to evict encroachers.

“We urge the PM not to relent on his decision to evict people from Mau because the nation’s interests supersedes those of a few,” said the Ogiek spokesman Daniel Kobei.

But Mr Kobei opposed a proposed move by the Kenya Wildlife Service to fence off the forest, saying it would deny the Ogiek access to their resources.

Thirty elders from the community asked President Kibaki to add his voice to eviction calls.

“The President must come out strongly so that those thinking that Raila is working in isolation are aware he is not,” said Mr Kilaya Saaya, the chairman of the Ogiek People Development Programme.