NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Deputy President William Ruto has defended the position he’s taken in the past on the Mau Forest evictions.
In Bomet for the commissioning of the Teganda-Ndaraweta-Leldaret Road on Saturday, Ruto said what he protested – as depicted in a news report from the time and actively shared on social media after he announced a moratorium on logging on public land – was the “inhumane” eviction of squatters who’d settled in the forest.
Odinga who was on the receiving end of Ruto’s salvos at the time for his insistence that the water catchment be protected from settlement, has made hay of the position the Deputy President now finds himself in, “let him eat his words.”
As millions face starvation for a lack of rain, Ruto – put on the defensive – tried to explain that he did not sacrifice the greater good on the altar of political expediency by standing in the way of the then government’s efforts to preserve the vital water tower.
“What we objected then and will continue to object is the manner in which people were treated at the Mau forest during the eviction. At no point are we ever going to support the destruction of people’s properties and churches in the name of eviction,” Ruto said.
The shoe on the other foot with him now in government and being expected to resolve the water crisis and safeguard a future supply of rain, Ruto said the national government plans to plant 60 million trees.
As Cape Town faces the complete depletion of its water reservoirs and in the throes of climate change, they are those who are worried it may be a case of too little, too late.