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Court declines to refer Mau case to CJ

By | July 20th 2011 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Beatrice Obwocha

The High Court in Nakuru has declined to forward to the Chief Justice a case in which five people have sued Prime Minister Raila Odinga over eviction of settlers in Mau Complex.

Justice Anyara Emukule said a single judge could handle constitutional issues raised by the applicants and directed the matter to be mentioned before another court.

The five wanted the case referred to Dr Willy Mutunga to appoint a three-judge Bench to hear constitutional issues they raised in the matter.

The applicants, Mr Kipsang Kilel, Mr William Kiprono, Mr Daniel Langat, Mr Joseph Rotich and Mr Elijah Kipkemoi have sued the Prime Minister and Attorney General Amos Wako.

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They claimed the respondents were regularising titles issued to them by the Government through vetting thus violating their constitutional rights to protection of property.

They argued that they were registered landowners within Tinet Settlement Scheme and were issued with title deeds by President Kibaki.

They claimed they were left out during registration of members of the Ogiek community. The applicants claimed the Government violated their constitutional right of equality and protection of property.

Registered

They want a constitutional court to determine whether their fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights has been denied or violated by the PM and AG. They alleged that the Task Force on Mau Forest recommended that illegal settlers be evicted and the Ogiek community be registered for purposes of compensation.

They claimed the recommendations favoured one community and discriminated against others, including those who were issued with title deeds. But Mr Hassan Noor, the co-ordinator of the Interim Secretariat for Mau Forest Complex, denied any wrong doing in an affidavit.

He stated that reclaiming of forestland in Tinet Settlement Scheme had not started, but will commence in phase four of the restoration exercise that will start at the end of this year.

Noor said restoration of the water tower had started and only affected Eastern Mau, South Western Mau and Maasai Mau.

He said the Ogiek community had lived in the forest since ancestral time and they were being registered to identify genuine ones for resettlement.


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