By Kipchumba Kemei
Settlers in the Mau Forest Complex have called for President Kibaki’s intervention in the row over compensation.
They said the President has been silent on the issue, yet directed them to return to their farms in 2007 after they were evicted in 2005.
"We ask him to intervene and end the current confusion over our fate in the face of conflicting Government statements on whether we should be compensated or not," said their spokesperson William Cheruiyot
He said they were disturbed that the State had assured them of compensation only for Prime Minister Raila Odinga to call them land grabbers who should not get a shilling.
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The chairman of the Mau Forest Steering Committee Hassan Noor has indicated that all setters with genuine claims over the forestland would be compensated.
He was quoted in the media saying that money for the exercise has been set aside and valuation exercise for all the 22 forest blocks forming the Mau Complex has been completed.
The former Rift Valley PC said there were about 240,000 settlers in the complex.
He, at the same time, said verification exercise for their claims has also been completed.
But the settlers said Raila’s statement showed the Government was not committed to ending the forest settlement saga.
"We know the PM has a political problem with some Rift Valley MPs opposed to the Proposed Constitution. He should not use that to punish us," said Mr Cheruiyot.
They maintained that they bought parcels of land in the forest on a willing seller-wiling buyer basis and they have title deeds.
Cheruiyot said they should be compensated so as to buy land elsewhere, saying the Government should not resettle them.