Archive 2002


Wednesday, April 10, 2002 

Communities defy quit order


Ogiek and Maasai communities yesterday defied a government order to leave Enoosupukia.

The deadline for the order issued two weeks ago by Narok District Commissioner Joseph Kimiywi was on Monday.

Last week, Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Peter Raburu said that Enoosupukia was a water catchment area and should not be inhabited.

Yesterday, elders from the two communities said Enoosupukia was their ancestral land and challenged the government to evict them.

"Enoosupukia is our land. We do not understand the talk about water catchment areas and forests."

Speaking during a meeting at the Enoosupukia Catholic Church grounds, the elders accused two councillors of plotting to grab the land. "We are not squatters; this is our land and the DC must stop harassing us."

The elders, mainly from the Ogiek and Pulko, Ildamat and Keekonyoki Maasai clans, told the meeting that their forefathers had been buried in the land, and they would not leave it.

"We are ready to die here because we have nowhere else to go. We have asked President Moi to state clearly if the government has actually ordered our eviction."

Ngong Diocese Bishop Collins Davis and the Peace and Justice coordinator, Mr Godfrey Lemiso, attended the meeting. 

Bishop Davis said it was wrong for the State to evict people from their ancestral land, and called for dialogue between the government and the communities to avert chaos.

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

The Ogiek Rural Integral Project director, Mr Saina ole Sena, said the Ogiek and the Maasai were spared eviction in 1992 because they lived on their ancestral land.

The Ogiek had lived in the forest for centuries and it was shocking that the government now wanted to evict them, he added.

Amid chants of "we will not move!" Mr Sena told the group: "Do not fear. Sleep well and continue bearing children to fill this land which you own."

Link : 10042002/News/News19.html