Archive 2002


Wednesday, September 11, 2002 

Squatters in appeal for land


Squatters in Nandi and Uasin Gishu forests yesterday urged the Government to fulfil a promise to resettle them.

In a meeting at Serengonik along the two districts borders, the 1,500 members of the Ogiek community said they were tired of living as squatters, "in our own country nearly 40 years after independence."

Their chairman Paul Sitienei Some, Joel Koskei (secretary), Benjamin Yego, Abraham Kemei and Samuel Bor complained that nothing had been done to settle them, despite a 1999 notice of hiving off of a part of North Tinderet Forest for their resettlement.

The notice, the said, was issued by the then chief conservator of forests Dr K. Kipkore. 

The instructions addressed to the then Uasin Gishu and Nandi district commissioners indicated that 745.59 Ha of the forest was to be allocated to the squatters.

Another 1500 Ha were to be carved out of Buret and Cengalo forests, the notice said.

The residents said they feared they might never benefit from the allocations after the elections "since we don't know whether the next government will respect the notice". 

But they thanked the government for settling 350 members of the community in Cherebet, Leinguse Location in Northern Tinderet.

"We have lived in forests since colonial times and when other Kenyans were settled at independence we were not. When the government came and asked us to leave saying it owned the land, we were surprised since it is the only home we know," Mr Some said.

He accused the government of neglecting the community saying: "For us, it is as if independence never came to Kenya since we have never seen its fruits."

They threatened to go to court to compel the government to settle them. 

They said they were unable to educate their children and carry out other development activities because they were homeless.