Deputy President William Ruto (pictured) has spoken on the ongoing Maasai Mau forest evictions, saying those who encroached on the forest should be flushed out but in a humane manner.
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Speaking in Narok on Sunday evening, the DP dismissed talk that he was defending illegal settlers, saying conservation of forests was crucial.
Mr Ruto also denied claims that it was his supporters who had encroached on the forest.
“I was the one who came to Narok and said those who had encroached beyond the cut-line should be removed, and that was done,” he said while calling for humane evictions in the next phase.
On the looming phase two evictions targeting over 40,000 people, the DP called for negotiations saying the national government will sit with the county government on the best way to remove them out of the forest in a humane way.
“We respect every Kenyan’s rights. No force should be used as they are Kenyans and not animals,” he said.
The DP’s calls for the negotiations were not received well with the Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko who was also present at the event who declared that the evictions were none-negotiable and that there shall be no compensation.
“I have heard some people talking of compensation. What compensation when these people have continually destroyed the forest? They will all be evicted, “said CS Tobiko.
The CS has also warned politicians against politicizing the ongoing evictions saying the exercise was not targeting any specific community/tribe but was for the good of the country.
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“Mau is not a tribal issue. It does not matter the tribe you come from. As long as you invaded the forest against the law, you must move out,” said Tobiko.
DP Ruto also called upon Kenyans to embrace tree-planting in a bid to boost the country’s forest cover saying that the ban on logging in public forest was still standing saying cartels had ruled the forest with impunity logging trees with abandon.