In Summary
  • Mr Sudi said the settlers around Mau forest had been subjected to untold suffering with previous evictions having allegedly been perpetrated by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
  • President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are on record saying that the government had pumped Sh100 million to construct 15 schools in Narok South, where the first phase occurred.

Deputy President William Ruto has found himself between a rock and a hard place over the highly emotive phase two of the Mau forest evictions.

While his key allies have come out with guns blazing, accusing the government of “seeking to commit human rights abuses, ignoring court injunctions, failing to respect the rule of law and the Constitution, and forcibly ejecting families from their private farmlands”, Mr Ruto has lately ignored the matter.

On Friday, Mr Ruto’s own trusted personal assistant Farouk Kibet, Soy MP Caleb Kositany and his Kapseret counterpart Oscar Sudi spoke tough on the planned evictions, warning the government to tread carefully on the matter during a fundraising at St Mary’s Secondary School Osorongai in Uasin Gishu County.

“You cannot just wake up one day and decide to close schools because of environmental conservation,” said Mr Kibet.

“Where has the government been all this while? As leaders, we shall do whatever it takes to ensure that the rights of our brothers and sisters in Mau are respected.”

“While we agree that we have to protect the environment by planting trees and taking care of water towers such as Mau, at the end of the day it is the lives of those people on the ground that matter. The government must carry out the planned eviction in a humane manner,” said Mr Kositany.

RESETTLEMENT

Mr Sudi said the settlers around Mau forest had been subjected to untold suffering with previous evictions having allegedly been perpetrated by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

“President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto once raised funds for people in Mau when they were facing eviction, but today we are shocked that the same people of Mau who voted overwhelmingly for Jubilee are being threatened,” said Mr Sudi.

Mr Ruto had in 2005 and 2009, alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta, broken ranks with top government officials led by then-Prime Minister Raila Odinga and rooted for the resettlement and compensation of the Mau evictees.

In the 2012 and 2017 general election, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto repeatedly pledged to the settlers that they would be compensated, resettled and the government would respect the sanctity of title deeds.

But now the shoe is literally on the other foot for the two leaders with Mr Ruto particularly faced with high-stakes politics in his backyard, which has forced him to avoid addressing the issue in public.

VOTE BASKET

Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno revealed what could be the underlying factor that has led Mr Ruto to keep off the matter.

“However emotive this issue is, you (Mr Ruto) leave it to us as leaders to hammer it in all forums. As a matter of fact, this is what will decide our future in Jubilee government. We will not sit back and watch as the same government we are part of is persecuting our people,” said Mr Ngeno.

“The same people the government wants to kick out of their farms along the Mau forest are the same families we went to for support ahead of the 2012 and 2017 electionM and they voted for us almost to a man. The appreciation we are giving is to kick them out of their private farmlands? It is going to be a battle like no other in this country.”

Narok Governor Samwel Tunai and his Bomet colleague Hillary Barchok, who accompanied Mr Ruto, did not address the matter.

President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are on record saying that the government had pumped Sh100 million to construct 15 schools in Narok South — where children were kicked out in last year’s eviction of 9,000 families. More schools are set to be closed in the impending phase two.

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