It’s a double tragedy for families that voluntarily left the Maasai Mau forest land ahead of the eviction deadline of October 30. The over 1,000 families are camping at Chepakundi on the border of Nakuru and Narok counties.
And even at the camp, which the Government has termed as private land they are staring at eviction. The Standard confirmed Olenguruone Assistant County Commissioner Ogaso Bruno had asked the families to leave the camp.
Mr Bruno, in the letter dated October 23, 2019, informed the families that they were in illegal occupation of the private land.
“An attempt to ignore this notice will invite forceful dispersal to enable all the victims return to their initial counties of origin,” he warned in the letter.
William Parsuguta, does not know where to go next. For the past one week, Parsuguta has lived under a tarpaulin tent with his wife and eight children.
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The camp that hosts about 1,000 families is hardly three kilometres from Mau’s Sierra Leone village.
Mr Parsuguta and his family are among 3,000 families that have voluntarily vacated the 17,101 acres of land in the Mau Forest Complex.
“The past one week has been hard for us. It is difficult to get used to life in a camp when you had a lot of space before... now with the heavy rains and the cold, it is pure misery,” he said as he watched his three children cuddling in a blanket on the ground.
The family opted to leave Sierra Leone village before a 60-day vacate notice issued by the Government expires end of this month.
“They want us to vanish into thin air. I just wish the Government would show us alternative land where we can grow our own food,” said Parsuguta, adding he had nothing to feed his family on.
No more tents
Chepakundi Assistant Chief David Rotich yesterday visited the camp to stop construction of makeshift tents.
However, angry settlers confronted the chief asking him to give them alternative land to settle on.
Joyce Chelangat, a mother of six, could not hide her pain.
Ms Chalangat said she has nothing to offer her children, adding that they left their food rotting in the farm only to die of hunger and cold in the camp.
Those who left Sierra Leone village said they have been denied access to their land in the Mau.
At the camp, most tents remained open as the locals had nothing to cover them.
“Life is hard. We’ve been turned to beggars. We have been forced to sleep in the cold,” said Angelica Moraa, a mother of six. Moraa said their cries to the Government have fallen on deaf ears.
The affected families claim they support conservation, but feel the Government should have resettled and or compensated them.
Samuel Lang’at, chairperson of the settlers at Chapakundi, said the families moved to the camp as they had no peace in their homes in Mau forest.
Samuel Tonui, the owner of the private land hosting the camp, said the families approached him seeking assistance and he allowed them settle on the land for six months.
“I could not bear to see young children and their mothers stranded by the roadside and decided to offer them a place where they will stay temporarily,” Mr Tonui said.