Archive 2002


Kenyan cabinet minister now supports Ogiek
by Jennifer Wanjiru, Rights Features Service

(April 11, 2002) A senior Kenyan cabinet minister has asked the Ogiek and Maasai tribes who were being evicted from Enoosopukia (in Narok District) to defy the order.

In the new twist to the Ogiek eviction saga, the minister in the Office of the President, William ole Ntimama, was quoted in the local dailies today asking the groups to stay.

"The decree and pronouncements are not supported by the law of the land...I ask them to stay put and do their business as usual," Ntimama is quoted by Kenya's Daily Nation.

The Ogiek and Maasai communities residing here had been given up to April 8 to leave by the Narok District Commissioner Joseph Kimiywi. The administrator was later supported by Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Peter Raburu who said that Enoosupukia was a water catchment area and should not be inhabited.

But elders from the two communities say that Enoosupukia is their ancestral land vowed not to leave.

The area is inhabited by the Ogiek and the Maasai clans of Pulko, Ildamat, and Keekinyoki.

In 1992 some tribes that were destroying the Enosopukia water catchment were evicted but the Ogiek and Maasai were spared.

The elders say that the land is being targeted by land grabbers who want to seize the land.

"We are not squatters; this is our land and the DC must stop harassing us," the elders were quoted saying.

Ngong Diocese Bishop Collins Davis and Diocese Peace and Justice Coordinator Mr. Godfrey Lemiso have thrown their support to the group.

"Dialogue is the way forward. The Provincial Commissioner should come here and listen to you," said the bishop.

The cabinet minister has asked the PC to order a halt of the East Mau forest if he is serious about water catchments.

The Ogiek who live in East Mau have gone to court over that ancestral land and their case comes up in court on April 24.