NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 21 – The government has denied plans to pay off owners of huge chunks of land in the Mau as alleged by some media reports.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday said the reports that the government was due to issue compensations amounting to Shh2 billion to prominent personalities were fabricated and a creation of the media.
He said the State was yet to decide on a compensation plan for legal land owners of the Mau.
“We at the Treasury and at the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife can categorically state that there has never been any discussion of any nature with any individual or company for compensation of any kind. No agreement on compensation has been reached or even discussed and any alleged payment package is totally false and untrue,” Mr Kenyatta stated.
The Deputy Prime Minister also challenged anyone with contrary information to furnish the Government with it over the payments (or due payments) to the land owners saying the issue had elicited unjustified public outcry.
“It is important that the matter be dealt with without undue delay as it has caused great concern among Kenyans. It is necessary for them (media) to put this mater to rest as it is a very sensitive and emotive issue. I think the media has a responsibility of communicating the real thing. We would appreciate getting that information in the shortest possible time so that Kenyans know where the truth lies,” he said.
At a joint press conference with the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, the Finance Minister also said issues of compensation were still being handled by the Mau Secretariat, led by former Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Hassan Noor Hassan.
“The only thing that we have considered is possible resettlement of some of the fellows that were moved out who really have no where to go. The government is considering what it can do in terms of finding alternative land for those particular individuals but in terms of the money that is being referred to, there has never been any discussion,” he stated.
Mr Kenyatta further added that his ministry was still waiting for instruction from the Mau Secretariat before it started compensating the legal land owners.
“We have not been told of any payments or who the payments should be made to. However we clearly do know that when we are informed of what is required then we will communicate the same. As of now we have not been told who the genuine people requiring compensation are,” he said adding that the vetting exercise was still underway.
“We have not been told of its progress but once we get the information we will do what is necessary on our part. When the time comes for compensation we will make the information public,” he said.
He also said that consultations with other line ministries including the Ministry of Lands and of Water and Irrigation had also indicated that the government was not yet planning to compensate any legal land owners.
“We are therefore surprised that such a story with such great detail and precise payments would be published when the ministries concerned have no knowledge of the particulars raised,” he said.