, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – Twelve Members of Parliament from Rift Valley including a Minister and seven Assistants on Wednesday distanced themselves from a deal that was purportedly struck by President Kibaki and a section of MPs from the region over the controversial Mau forest.
Led by Heritage Minister William Ole Ntimama, the legislators broke ranks with their colleagues and termed them “self seekers who do not represent the entire Rift Valley Province.”
“They have sidelined us, they do not represent the entire community and yet they claim they are speaking on behalf of the Rift Valley,” Joseph Nanok of Turkana said.
Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri who also attended the press conference said: “Some leaders had assumed the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the Rift Valley yet no one has chosen them.”
“Whenever they (unnamed leaders) are speaking, they should not be seen as representing views of Rift Valley MPs.”
The twelve leaders said they were angered by reports that a section of Rift Valley MPs had held a meeting with President Mwai Kibaki at his Harambee House office where a deal over Mau forest is said to have been struck.
Local newspapers quoted some of the MPs who attended the President’s meeting as saying that: “A deal had been struck on the compensation process.”
“We are not aware of whatever deal that might have been reached and as far as we are concerned, the meeting was for Kalenjin MPs and not Rift Valley MPs,” Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri said and added: “resolution reached at the meeting does not bind to us.”
The MPs maintained that there’s need to carry out massive evictions in the Mau forest and questioned why President Kibaki chose to meet a section of MP’s from the region yet the issue had been concluded by the Cabinet.
“The issue was discussed conclusively by the Cabinet, we do not understand why the President was meeting these legislators,” one of the MP’s said.
Mr Ntimama on his part said the group that met on Wednesday was backing the government on the need to conserve the Mau forest and protested at plans to compensate those occupying the forest.