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Raila to lead tree-planting in Mau

By | April 21st 2010 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Alex Ndegwa

Prime Minister Raila Odinga heads to Mau Forest Complex on Wednesday for a second tree-planting event.

The event is billed as part of the commemoration of the 2010 World Earth Day.

According to a statement released by the PM’s communications director Dennis Onyango, US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger will join Raila for the occasion.

The exercise will take place at Songi Kaboyet in Eastern Mau. The PM’s last tree planting in the Mau in January was at Kaptunga in Molo.

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"The PM is once again appealing to Kenyans and friends of Kenya to support the exercise, which he says is another step in the long journey to restore the environment," said the statement.

In his Jamuhuri Day speech, Raila famously said that the omena (small fish) were out of the forest, and the mbuta (big fish) were next to leave.

Politics marred the initial phase of the rehabilitation of the complex.

Inhumane evictions

Agriculture Minister William Ruto supported by some Rift Valley MPs, alleged the evictions were inhuman.

Raila is returning to the Mau at a time the Proposed Constitution has opened a new battlefront between him and the Ruto group.

A fundraiser at the Panafric Hotel on November 25, last year, to assist Mau evictees was turned into a forum for bashing Raila by the so-called ‘KKK’ alliance.

Ruto, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Tourism Minister Najib Balala led a group of MPs, including Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s allies, to the meeting at which Balala pointedly referred to those sitting at the high table as the "line-up to watch in future".

Unperturbed by the criticism, the Prime Minister declared there was no going back, saying he was ready to sacrifice his political career over the conservation of the forest.

As some leaders from Rift Valley Province, which overwhelmingly voted for Raila in 2007, fell out with him, they warmed up to President Kibaki and the rousing welcome he was accorded when he opened Eldoret ASK Show was telling.

tree planting Dennis Onyango Kaptunga mau eviction mau forest
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