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Arrest those behind Mau Forest land grab, elders say

by 13/07/2018 20:00:00 0 comments 1 Views
By GEORGE SAYAGIE
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By PATRICK LANG'AT
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Pressure continues to mount on State agencies to move swiftly and arrest powerful individuals who illegally acquired Mau Forest land and are believed to have sold it to unsuspecting Kenyans, who are now victims of forced evictions from the country’s largest water tower.

Days after the eviction exercise targeting 600 households started, focus has now shifted to rich and powerful individuals who excised huge tracts of land in the vast forest complex before they sold it.

The Maasai Council of Elders is now calling for the naming, and punishment, of those they claim were illegal beneficiaries of forest land.

Others who have called for the arrest and prosecution of the prominent individuals include the Rift Valley Council of Elders through its patron, Mr Gilbert Kabage, and the Ogiek Council of Elders through its chairman, Mr Joseph Towett.

NAMES IN HANSARD

“These people’s names are in the Hansard taken from the Prime Minister Task-force report, and they should be exposed. The government knows them,” Mr Joseph Ole Karia, a former member of the Mau Forest Taskforce Committee, said.

Mr Karia, who is the Maasai Council of Elders national secretary and was accompanied by former Narok county council vice chairman, Mr Josephat ole Kamuye, said that those who had illegally acquired the land were known and well-documented in a 2008 report tabled in the National Assembly.

Over 2,000 people from 333 households have already been kicked out of the expansive Maasai Mau Forest, part of the Mau forest complex that also comprises of Transmara, Ol Posimoru, Eastern Mau, Mau Narok, South West Mau, Western Mau, Mt Londiani, Eburru, Molo and South Molo forests.

In the Maasai Mau, a report tabled in Parliament in 2009 named Ololarusi In-vestment Farm (4,001ha), former councillor Korema ole Surum (2,988ha), Mr Francis Lemiso Kipturkut (2,653ha) and IIngina Contractors (1,295ha), which is owned by a member of a prominent family in Narok West, as those that got forest land subdivided to them in the Maasai Mau Forest.

Some 29,000 hectares of forest land had been illegally taken by over 2,500 households in the Maasai Mau, according to the report.

The list tabled accounted for only 18,102 hectares of forest land allocated irregularly.

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