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Calls for resettlement of Ogieks

By | March 23rd 2012

By Michael Wesonga

Uasin Gishu County

The Ogiek who were evicted from Embobut Forest have petitioned the Government to prioritise their resettlement.

The community’s chairman, Kipkoech arap Sang, said they were evicted from their native land in 2006, leaving them homeless.

Mr Sang questioned why the Government was fast-tracking the re-location of Internally Displaced Persons and squatters yet they had been totally ignored.

"I wonder how we can discuss land issues when we actually have nowhere to call our native home," he said.

Sang said it was public knowledge that they were the true inhabitants of Embobut forest from where they were evicted and no one was willing to address their plight.

"The committee should address the historical injustices first before handling all the other issues at hand," he added.

The community also wants to be accorded leave in appointing a parliamentary representative since they currently lack representation owing to landlessness. Other members of the public gave varied opinions to be considered in fine-tuning the Land Bill, Land Registration Bill and the National Land Commission Bill.

They were addressing the Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Natural Resources during a public hearing in Eldoret Thursday.

Eldoret South MP Peris Simam, who is also the committee’s deputy chair, was chairing the forum that jointly hosted the views of members of the public from Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.

Sensitive issues

Wananchi said though land issues were very pertinent and sensitive, the Bomas Draft, Committee of Experts and Kofi Annan Chaired Agenda Four had not addressed the land concerns. Also present were Marakwet East MP Jebii Kilimo and Eastern Rift Valley regional Commissioner Wanyama Musyambu.

Former Eldoret East MP Joel Barmasai raised concern on land taxation, size and registration.

The committee’s chairperson, Mutava Musyimi, said most of the issues raised had been addressed in the powers and functions of the National Lands Commission.

Today the commission holds their public hearings in Narok and Kericho counties.

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