- Many jobs will be lost and the economy will suffer, he says
MPs from the Kalenjin community will resist attempts to pull down a tea factory in Mau forest owned by former President Daniel arap Moi.
Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto said Kiptagich tea factory, at the edge of the South Western Mau Forest, employed more than 5,000 people, and destroying it would impoverish them and hurt the economy.
Mr Ruto said Mr Moi had not interfered with the environment and warned those trying to settle political scores to tread carefully.
“Mr Moi should enjoy his retirement in peace and no one should mess up his investments” Mr Ruto declared.
The MP said leaders in the region backed the government’s conservation programmes, but their efforts to have those who had been evicted resettled were being misconstrued.
“If the settlers were compensated and squatters resettled, we would have no quarrel with anybody,” Mr Ruto said.
The MP at the same time denied owning land in the Mau and dismissed as “outrageous” claims by Prime Minister Raila Odinga that he had bought farms from his constituents and moved them to his land in the Mau.
“I do not own land in Mau and I challenge those peddling this falsehood to name any of my neighbours in the complex,” he said.
He was speaking in his Chepalungu constituency at a thanksgiving party for Mr Julius Langat, who has been appointed an assistant chief.
In a related development, Youth Affairs assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando has threatened to resign from government if those who grabbed land in the forest are paid.
“Kenyans are keenly watching to see if President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga will sanction the payments,” he said.
“Everybody is aware of the genesis of the problems in Mau and it would be wrong for those who acquired land in suspicious circumstances to be paid,” he said.