Learners caught up as looming Mau forest evictions intensify
SEE ALSO :Ruto’s plea over Mau deadlineLed by Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot and Belgut MP Nelson Koech, the leaders said the schools were registered and on the Maasai Mau Trust Land and not the forest as claimed by the State. “The eviction is illegal. We will not allow the evictions to go on because it is discriminatory and inhumane to the people,” Mr Cheruiyot said. At another press conference later, former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto asked the Government to give leaders of the North Rift region time to discuss the issue of Mau Forest and the looming evictions. Mr Ruto said they were worried that tension over the planned evictions could lead to chaos. “As leaders, we have met and agreed that we will engage in dialogue. And we will not be engaging in name calling, shouting matches and other activities that are likely to raise tension among the people,” he said.
SEE ALSO :Kicked out of Mau forest into a campHe dismissed argument by Natembeya and Tobiko that the schools were not registered because they were sitting on forest land. “There are hundreds of unregistered schools in the country. Do they cease to exist because of that? How comes we have teachers hired by the Government working there?” Cheruiyot posed. The senator criticised Natembeya for issuing the directive on the closure yet the matter was active in court. “If the title deeds are fake, why is the Government in court asking to be allowed to cancel them?” posed Cheruiyot. Last month, lawyers moved to court seeking orders to have the planned evictions suspended until the case was heard and determined. Environment and Lands Court Judge Silas Munyao will hearing the case in Kitale on Wednesday.
Evicted familiesLast Wednesday, Natembeya said the schools were illegally built on forest land and were to be demolished as State embarks on the second phase of eviction targeting about 60,000 people in Narok North and South. The Government is seeking to reclaim about 17,000 acres of land in an exercise that has raised political temperatures in the country. The first phase conducted last year led to the eviction of more than 10,000 families. A tour by The Standard discovered that some of the affected families have already started moving out of the water tower. The police have reportedly started evicting families. At the same time, the National Assembly Environment and Natural Resources committee said it will invite Tobiko to Parliament over the eviction.
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