Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Squatters in appeal for land
By LUCAS BARASA
Squatters in Nandi and Uasin Gishu
forests yesterday urged the Government to fulfil a promise to
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
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
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
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.
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