MPs oppose Mau forest evictions

July 16, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 16 – A section of legislators from the Rift Valley Province Wednesday demanded that the government withdraw the resolutions agreed upon in a consultative meeting on conserving the Mau forest.

The legislators insisted that the state instead engages in dialogue with the local leadership.

Kipkelion MP Magarer Langat claimed that their proposal for dialogue with the communities, that would include systematic compensation where necessary without a deadline, was not taken into consideration.

The day long high-level consultative meeting chaired by Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Tuesday came up with five resolutions that included an October deadline for the eviction of people living in Mau Forest without valid title deeds.

But Langat insisted: “It was our expectation that the boundaries would be done by a committee of stakeholders from all the communities living within and which was going to be arrived at after proper consultation. However the whole exercise was choreographed to grant legitimacy to a prior programme,” he stated, in reference to a resolution that the boundaries would be based on the Ole Ntutu Commission’s findings.

The boundaries of the Mau forest, which covers an area of about 46,278 hectares, were agreed upon in 1987 based on the work of the commission that had been formed during former President Daniel arap Moi’s regime in an effort to solve the problems that have faced the forest.

Chepalungu legislator Isaac Ruto who had Tuesday attempted to stop the adoption of the resolutions argued that a negotiated programme of action to save the forest should be agreed upon.

“We did indeed point out yesterday (Tuesday) that what was read in the resolution had not been discussed at all. For example the so called Ole Ntutu Commission is unknown to us. We have never heard of it, it was never even mentioned in the discussions and we were told that part of the resolution was that we adopt the boundaries of the said commission,” he complained.

“Secondly, we never discussed any evictions; we were discussing proper management of the Mau ecosystem.” 

They also said that the local leadership was not adequately represented in the meeting claiming that only representatives from the Narok County Council were invited.

“No representative from Nakuru, Kipsigis and Bomet were invited despite them bordering the Mau forest ecosystem.”


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