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Raila denies evictions in Mau

BUSINESS
By | November 16th 2009

By Willis Oketch and Dedan Okanga

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has denied claims settlers in the Mau Forest were being evicted following expiry of an eviction notice.

The PM dismissed media reports indicating Mau settlers were being forcibly evicted as propaganda.

Raila said: "Nobody has been evicted as far as I am concerned. Stop confusing Kenyans over claims the squatters in Mau Forest are being evicted."

He explained some settlers were voluntarily moving out of Mau.

The PM was briefing the media after attending a retreat for Cabinet ministers and their assistants in Mombasa on Saturday.

He said the retreat was useful because resolutions reached would help unite the country.

"The outcome of the meeting is positive because we have found a formula to work as a team," said Raila.

He said he and President Kibaki did not read the riot act to ministers, explaining it was rather straight talk and frankness among Cabinet members.

The Lang’ata MP said the meeting succeeded because participants were free and spoke openly, but said the new constitution was not discussed.

Ministers complained

Meanwhile, about 15,000 evictees of Embobut Forest want the Government to hasten the resettlement process.

The displaced families camping at an open ground on the edge of the forest blamed the Government for failing to provide humanitarian assistance.

The May forceful eviction by police left many families hopeless resulting in a disruption of schools and economic activities in the sub-region.

"The Government promised us a quick solution but since we moved to the temporary ground all we hear are recommendations but no action," said Ms Jane Chemweno, an evictee.

The group accused Rift Valley leaders of concentrating more on Mau Forest evictees while ignoring other displaced persons across the province.

"We have marginal groups like the Sengwer who have suffered years of displacement without political intervention, yet all efforts seem directed on Mau evictees," said another resident Rop Kibet.

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