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1998 squatters write to President Uhuru Kenyatta, demand land

KENYA @ 50
By By JOB WERU | October 1st 2013

By JOB WERU

Nyeri County: A group of squatters evicted from the Aberdares Forest in 1988 has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and ensure they are re-settled in the ongoing resettlement programme.

Tucha/Kiandongoro Forest Squatters, estimated to be more than 1,000, claim to have been left out of the resettlement programme targeting the 2009 forest evictees.

In the letter delivered to the Office of the President’s Cabinet office on September 24, and which The Standard acquired a copy of, the squatters claimed that they were evicted from the forest scheme in 1988.

Through their chairman, Joshua Muthui, the squatters said since their eviction, they have been squatting in various parts of Nyeri, especially Tetu Sub-County.

“We believe your office can resettle us. The former provincial administration has not adequately considered our plight. Please direct the concerned government agencies to act,” read the letter in part.

The squatters also presented a copy of a letter sent to them by former Central PC Kiplimo Rugut, in which the former administrator pledged that the government would find ways of resettling them.

“Please note that it has not been possible to address your problem as earlier anticipated, together with that of other landless persons in colonial villages and other similar circumstances. However, the government continues to place your issue and that of the others under serious consideration alongside the ongoing resettlement of IDPs when the situation permits,” Rugut wrote in the letter dated October 2, 2012.

But Muthui noted that the squatters feared they would be left out, hence the decision to write to President Uhuru.

“We feel that we have been forgotten and decided to address the President himself so that he can remember us as he continues to issue land to the landless,” said Muthui.

Samuel Kiminda, the squatters’ secretary, said they have been left out of two phases of government resettlement.

“The first was in 1991 when squatters from other forests from Nyeri County were given land but we were not.”

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