Sengwer, Ogiek pick leaders to fight for communities' rights
By Silah Koskei
| October 14th 2014
|Paul Kibet a resident from Sengwer community during the consultative forum between Ogiek and officials from the Ministry of Environment where they forwarded names of three representatives in a bid to set up leadership structures towards conservation of water catchment areas. October 12 Photos by Eliud Kipsang. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES|
Eldoret; Kenya: The minority Sengwer and Ogiek communities have nominated county representatives across the country.
They submitted a list of names to the national government and want the officials to agitate for their rights.
The communities met with officials from the Ministry of Environment to select their representatives in Eldoret over the weekend.
The move, according to the officials, was necessitated by the need to have a solid leadership structure of the two minority communities spread across the country.
"The ministry saw it prudent to oversee the selection of officials because of the challenges involved in reaching out to them despite their huge numbers across the country," said Alex Lemarkoko, an official from the ministry.
He added the structure would unite the communities, whose livelihoods revolve across major Government eco-systems in the Rift Valley region.
Lemarkoko said the officials would meet Environment Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe this week before electing a national representative from the selected team.
He said officials would work with the Government on a long-term plan to safeguard forests where the communities have lived for years.
The two communities initially formed a task force to front one name to the ministry, insisting they ought to have two representatives who will engage the Government on injustices they face through a memorandum.
It was after intervention by the ministry officials that the two communities from Cherangany and Embobut catchment areas provided the names of Reuben Tekeroi and Paul Kitum to represent the Sengwer. The Ogiek fronted Paul Rutto.
Peter Kitelo, a representative from the Ogiek in Cherangany, faulted the Government for laxity in addressing pressing concerns affecting the community.
He noted besides the structures proposed by the Environment ministry, the minority group ought to have a solution for constant evictions from their habitats.
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