Tue Jun 05 22:01:05 EAT 2012
Relief as Mau evictees allocated land
Three years after they were kicked out of the Mau Forest Complex, the government has finally allocated plots
Three years after they were kicked out of the Mau Forest Complex, the government has finally allocated plots to the evictees at Chemusian farm in Uasin Gishu.
Surveyors were on Tuesday on the ground putting final touches in readiness to allocate plots to more than 400 people evicted from gazetted forests.
Last month Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi presided over the settlement of the families on alternative land.
Over 240 households from Mau, 50 from Kipkurere Forest in Uasin Gishu and 123 from Eldoret East District were given alternative settlement at an expansive farm sold to the government by former president Daniel Moi’s aide.
The families were to be each given two-and-a-quarter acres of land where the ministry advocated an eco-village system with a quarter-acre of the land to be used for constructing homesteads and the remainder left for farming.
However, a controversy has emerged that is threatening to undermine peace in the land. A section of the beneficiaries allege that some of them are not genuine squatters.
“Some of the people who benefited from the land are not genuine squatters but close friends and relatives of those who were conducting the exercise.
“Thorough vetting was not conducted and some of us were looked out since we did not have anyone to fight for us,” said Mr Musa Khalwale, an evictee.
But Eldoret East DC Charles Mukele denied the claims, saying only genuine squatters were beneficiaries of the resettlement and vetting was conducted openly by elders, area chiefs and the public.
“The exercise was done in an open and fair manner. Those opposed to it by making unsubstantiated claims are out to interfere with peace and should be treated with outmost contempt,” said Mr Chelule Laboso, 57.
In addition, 50 families evicted from Kipkurere claim that to date they have not been supplied with tents and food and are currently putting up with fellow squatters from Mau while some say they are renting houses near the farm.
“We were happy after we benefited from the parcel of land. But the government just dropped us here without tents and food. We are subjected to cold and hunger,” said Mzee Limo Arap Kerio, who was evicted from Kipkurere.
Women have also complained that some of the officials at the camp have been demanding sexual favours in exchange for food and distribution of blankets.
“Widows are the most disadvantaged. Men demand sex before fighting for us during distribution of food, blankets and allocation of plots,” said one woman.