- The lawmaker recommended that the communities be relocated from Chepkitale to Chepyuk phases 2 and 3 that comprise 4607 hectares of land.
- Ogiek and Ndorobo communities living around Chepkitale Forest in Mt Elgon have demonstrated against a looming eviction from the area
- Last month, National Assembly approved the variation of the boundaries of Mt Elgon forest to exclude Chepyuk phases 2 and 3.
Members of the minority Ogiek and Ndorobo communities living around Chepkitale Forest in Mt Elgon have demonstrated against a looming eviction from the area which forms part of the five water towers in the country.
The residents who marched from Chebyuk Centre to the Kopsiro Sub-County headquarters in Bungoma County carrying twigs and placards said they had been conserving the forest while using it for planting their crop, beekeeping and as a grazing field for their animals.
They took issue with area Member of Parliament Fred Kapondi spearheading the initiative accusing him of using the issue to gain political mileage ahead of the 2022 General elections.
Last Thursday, Mr Kapondi while making a contribution before the floor of the House said that Chepkitale is part of Mt Elgon forest reserve and so the need by the two marginalized communities to relocate from the area.
The lawmaker elected on a Jubilee party ticket recommended that the communities be relocated from Chepkitale to Chepyuk phases 2 and 3 that comprise 4607 hectares of land.
Led by their spokesperson Amos Kisa Sanutia the residents accused Mr Kapondi of misleading the National Assembly.
“We want to state clearly that Chepkitale is not and has not been part of the Mt Elgon forest reserve. Member of Parliament of Mt Elgon should not mislead the National Assembly because from time immemorial we have and remain to be inhabitants of Chepkitale not as from 1930 as stated by the MP,” said Mr Sanutia.
He indicated that Chepkitale National Reserve as per the 2010 Constitution Article 63 (2) (d) ii, is community land and should be registered as per the Community Land Act 2016.
“Our forefathers were born and buried in Chepkitale. It is also worth noting that Chepkitale has the best-conserved forest of indigenous trees in Kenya which is protected by traditional community by-laws which are informed by traditional knowledge of the Ogiek community,” said Mr David Mutorongo from the Ogiek community.