KONOIN, Kenya, Aug 17 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has dispelled speculation that a rift is brewing among the Orange Democratic Movement leadership due to indifferences dogging the conservation of the Mau forest complex.
He ruled out any possibilities of fallout and insisted that the party was stronger and united despite the fact that a section of the party leaders had differed over the handling of settlers in the water catchment area.
The Premier made it clear that he was "not at a war with anyone" but wanted what was good for the country to save the future generations from a looming catastrophe if the five water towers were not salvaged.
Mr Odinga’s statement to some of the possible evictees came after a section of MPs from the South Rift made public statements portraying government’s efforts to save the fragile eco system negatively.
He assured residents of Boito and Mogogosiek of Konoin district that the party leadership was in agreement that there was need to conserve water tower to reach desired water levels for the interest of the future generations.
Mr Odinga said the ODM parliamentary group meeting deliberated on amicable ways of resolving the Mau issue before the resolutions was endorsed for approval and subsequent action.
"I have no problem with Rift Valley MPs because we had dialogue on the best possible way to resettle those who encroached in the forest land before were embarked on the exercise," he said.
The Premier made known that Members of Parliament allied to the party had a series of session to map out strategies of soliciting for funds to facilitate the surveying, resettlement, fencing and subsequent rehabilitation of the complex.
He told a rally in Boito market after attending Sunday mass at Mogogosiek Catholic church that local leaders submitted their recommendations which included the estimated cost of the compensation and resettlement exercise.
He reiterated the government’s position to ensure that holders of small parcels of land were relocated to alternative sites or compensated accordingly to facilitate the rehabilitation of the forest.
The premier encouraged residents to support government efforts to restore the depleted complex arguing that wanton destruction of the forest cover could degenerate into desertification.
He said the recently formulated authority to oversee the rehabilitation of the five water towers in the country will involve the local communities in the conservation initiative for the posterity of future generations.
Mr Odinga cautioned residents to uphold sound environmental practices and attributed the failure of rains in the last successive four years were due to global warming widely attributed to human activities including wanton destruction of environment.
"Such activities have ushered harsh weather conditions like the El Nino and La Nina phenomena because of the emissions which might have been contained by the very environment that was destroyed" he explained.
The premier’s remarks comes in the wake of conflicting reports from ODM MPs with a section faulting the manner in which the government was resettling the squatters in the Mau Forest Complex amid claims that certain communities were targeted.