A case filed by a governor against the eviction of 10,000 families from the Maasai Mau Forest will be heard at the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in Arusha, Tanzania, next month.
A conference to determine the merits and demerits of the case filed by Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony (pictured right) is scheduled for November 19, 2019, the regional court has confirmed.
A notice from the court dated September 24, 2019 and sent to lawyer Kimutai Bosek, acting for Prof Chepkwony, says the case has been scheduled for conference at 9:30am.
The note indicates that the case will be presented before three judges.
“Take notice that the above reference has been listed for Scheduling Conference on Tuesday November 19, 2019 at 9:30am before Hon Justice Dr Faustin Ntezilyayo, Deputy Principal Judge, Hon Justice Audace Ngiye and Mr Justice Charles Nyachae in open court, 2nd floor, EAC headquarters, Africa Mashariki Road, EAC Close, Arusha,” reads the notice in part.
Chepkwony through Mr Bosek, had moved to court and filed a suit against the Government on behalf of school-going children.
The governor had in 2018, after the first phase of evictions, moved to court seeking orders to stop them. He filed the case in his personal capacity and on behalf of the minors whose parents were allegedly evicted from areas within the Mau Complex.
He also sought orders to have the Ministry of Education provide temporary school facilities for the more than 5,000 pupils evicted.
The governor, in his application, said pupils in more than 18 schools had been denied their basic rights, such as food, shelter, clothing and education as a result of the evictions.
The court, however, declined to issue orders in the absence of the Attorney General who had been named as the respondent in the case. The court noted that the Government also ought to be heard.
The case is set to determine if children in the Mau were denied their right to education.
This year, learning in 15 other schools was affected following the second phase of evictions. The schools are Kirobon, Senetwet, Kapsibilwo, Kitoben, Indianit, Kabarak, Noosogami, Chorwet, Ogilgei, Sebetet, Olabai, Koitabai, Chebirbelek, Chebetet and Lelechwet.
The Government has since maintained that the schools are illegal.
On Monday, a suit filed by more than 500 Mau settlers failed to proceed. The Judiciary, in a notice, said there were no funds to facilitate a three-judge bench hearing the case.
Meanwhile, a number of settlers expected to move out of a section of the Maasai Mau have pleaded with the Government to grant them more time to relocate.
The residents led by Joseph Tanui and Evans Lang’at who spoke at Olmekenyu near the Mau forest, said the Government has “neglected” them by failing to consider their plight.
“I was a resident at Kitoben, which people are now calling a forest. I bought this land after selling mine in Bomet and we have been living here with my eight children,” said Mr Tanui.
Mr Lang’at said he was now living with relatives in villages near the Mau forest as they await the Government’s decision.