Orengo defends Raila over Mau resettlement delay

September 9, 2012 2:07 pm
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He said the resettlement of IDPs and forest evictees lies squarely with an inter-ministerial committee that is chaired by President Mwai Kibaki/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 9 – Lands Minister James Orengo has defended PM Raila Odinga over the stalled resettlement program that has caused jitters among a section of North Rift MPs.
Orengo said the attempt to link the PM to the resettlement project is politically motivated.
He said the resettlement of IDPs and forest evictees lies squarely with an inter-ministerial committee that is chaired by President Mwai Kibaki.
However, the minister agreed with the three legislators that included Minister Franklin Bett, assistant ministers Magerer Langat and Beatrice Kones that the process is slow.
He explained that resources for the purchase of the land are available but finding the land has met some technicalities.
Already, he said there is Sh1 billion at the trustees fund kitty headed by ministries of Land, Finance and Agriculture.
Orengo said they have identified 4,000 acres of land in Rongai and another 500 acres in Muhoroni but there are no documents thus hampering efforts of acquiring them.
The minister noted that the parcels of land already under their watch is enough to resettle more than 80 percent of the forest evictees whose number stands at 7,000 families.
He said about 250 families had been resettled and warned politicians not to politicise the Mau resettlement issue for their political survival as the country gears towards holding the general election.
He announced that the Treasury is holding another Sh4billion for the resettlement of IDPs and forest evictees with Sh1billion to be channelled through Ministry of Special Programmes and the remaining Sh3 billion to be given to his Ministry.
Orengo who was accompanied by assistant minister for finance Oburu Odinga while addressing the press in Kisumu challenged the leaders questioning the process to join in and help resettle the evictees instead of making political statements.
He noted that most of them are government ministers and wondered why they had to issue ultimatums while outside.
Orengo also called upon the forest evictees to look for suitable land and approach his ministry for purchase to help in expediting the issue which has stagnated for long.
Oburu on his part warned of settling political scores with Mau evictees who have been living in the cold for all these times only for their case to resurface when the country nears general election.

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