, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 29 – Eldoret North MP William Ruto on Wednesday said Rift Valley legislators will not back down from their compensation demands for those living in the Mau Forest even if it earned them the infamous title: “tribalists.”
The Cabinet Minister, whose North Rift allies are championing compensation of settlers before any evictions are conducted, also alleged a plot to cast the area’s MPs in bad light over the issue.
“MPs from Rift Valley are being portrayed in a very desperate manner. What are we supposed to say so that we don’t look like tribalists? If saying they should be compensated is tribalism, so be it!” he said.
He defended the MPs saying they were standing for the settlers who are genuinely living on forest land allocated to them by previous regimes.
He further re-emphasised his initial stand that the people living in the Forest will not leave until they are compensated.
“If somebody came and told you to leave from the house you stay in today, and he has not told you where to go, what would you do and that is where you call home?” he queried.
He further accused politicians opposed to the compensation of playing ‘cheap politics’ saying some of them owned land in Mau but had since sold it.
On Monday Cabinet Minister William Ole Ntimama said compensating the Mau settlers would set a bad precedent since it would mean the government was rewarding public land grabbers.
Central Kenya Members of Parliament meanwhile have said that the government should set aside land to relocate the Mau residents.
Laikipia West MP Mwangi Kiunjuri said the issue of compensation should be dealt with cautiously as it could dredge up old cases, such as the 1989 evictions from Mt Kenya and the Abarderes.
“I was a victim and what we are reminding the government is that those victims have a case against the government which it cannot win,” he further stated.
He was flanked by Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando who stressed the need for President Mwai Kibaki and the Prime Minister to resolve the issue conclusively.
“If the President has any member disagreeing with him on matters that are resolved by the government, that person needs to exit. If the person is serving at the leisure of the appointment by Prime Minister at his wing, that person needs to exit,” he said.
“If they cannot, the Prime Minister and the President need to take action because they are also appearing to be hostages.”