Eviction of 60,000 settlers from Mau forest will be a violation of a court order- Governor Chepkwony

Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony when he appeared before the Senate Finance Committee at County Hall, Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]
Governor Paul Chepkwony has said the planned Mau eviction should be stopped until an ongoing case filed by settlers is heard and determined.

Chepkwony yesterday drew the attention of Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko to a suit filed at the East African Court of Justice, where Mau forest title deed holders want the Government to stop the second phase of the eviction.

"The CS should know better than anyone else that there is a court case in place and no action should be taken against the petitioners until the matter is heard and determined," Prof Chepkwony said in Sitotwet village in Ainamoi Constituency.

The governor further told State officers that they must learn to respect the sanctity of land deeds.

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"The petitioners who risk being evicted bought the land from former landowners. The Government will have to tell the court how the title deeds were issued to the petitioners," said the governor.

Very reckless

Ainamoi MP Silvanus Maritim accused the CS of only focusing on Mau in his ministry and leaving out other more important issues.

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"Industries are releasing toxic waste into Nairobi River yet Tobiko is yet to utter a word or take action. He is nonetheless very quick to torment innocent landowners in Narok County," he said.

The MP claimed the CS doesn't have legal powers to revoke title deeds.

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"It is very reckless for Tobiko to term legal land ownership documents as just mere pieces of papers," said Maritim.

Kapsoit MCA Paul Chirchir revealed that Rift Valley leaders will visit Mau on Saturday to demonstrate solidarity with the distressed land owners.

"Our message to them will be that they should remain put until the court case is heard and determined. We will resist any evictions," said Chirchir.

Law Society of Kenya South Rift chairman Geoffrey Kipngetich said 30 lawyers had signed up to offer pro bono services in the case.

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Governor Paul ChepkwonyMau eviction