Members of Parliament from Rift Valley are seeking an audience with President Uhuru Kenyatta this week over the ongoing evictions of settlers in Maasai Mau forest.
The eviction of 50,000 families from the Mau Forest has kicked off a political storm in the country that is threatening to tear apart the Jubilee administration.
Already, 9,000 families have been evicted from Melelo and Ololulunga wards in Narok South Constituency while another 40,000 will be evicted in phase two of the exercise that kicks off this week.
Konoin MP Brighton Yegon revealed that his colleagues from Rift Valley, who have been very vocal about the evictions, have secured a date with Mr Kenyatta to address the thorny issue.
“We have a date with the President this week over the ongoing operation to flush out families living in the Mau complex,” Mr Yegon said.
Mr Yegon said: “We have secured an appointment with President Kenyatta and we are awaiting confirmation of the particular day this will happen in the course of the week.”
The MP also revealed the leaders have held extensive talks on conservation and the evictions with the Deputy President William Ruto
Mr Yegon made the remarks at Besiobei in Boita ward at the weekend in the company of Bomet Deputy Governor Hillary Barchok, senators Christopher Langat (Bomet), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Bomet Woman Representative Joyce Korir and nominated Jubilee MP Gideon Keter.
The eviction has caused a sharp division between leaders from the Maasai and Kalenjin communities in Rift Valley, with the former backing the operation the later demanding the exercise stopped.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat and former Bureti MP Paul Sang recently toured the region and donated foodstuffs to the evictees.
Mr Moi said at Kitoben that he would seek an audience with President Kenyatta over the eviction, noting that families affected had not crossed a buffer zone created by the government separating the forest from private farmlands.
The leaders called on Mr Kenyatta to take personal charge of the matter to bring to an end tosuffering of thousands of people including the elderly, children and women who have been exposed to harsh weather conditions.
“President Kenyatta should take charge of the matter and ensure that eviction of the families from the area is conducted humanely without affecting those whose farms are outside the cutline,” Mr Moi said during the meeting held at Triangle in Ololulunga.
Mr Moi appealed to leaders from Rift Valley to avoid utterances that have to potential to incite the various communities residing in the region.
“We do not want anyone to put us in a collision course with fellow leaders. We are law-abiding citizens and we want to live in peace as Kenyans,” Mr Moi said.
Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Mr Cheruiyot, separately, led MPs in tour of the forest.
“The President we all campaigned and voted for cannot be doing this to the people who voted for him almost to a man in the last General Election,” Mr Murkomen said at Kitoben area.
Mr Murkomen said: “As far as I know, it is the President who assured the families that they would not be evicted. He participated in the setting of a cutline separating the private farmlands and the forest. What has happened all of a sudden?”
“I campaigned and stood with the President in most trying moments of his political career and you are telling us he has ordered for this eviction? Has the President of this country been changed? Had that happened, I would be the first to know,” said the Elgeyo Marakwet Senator.
Mr Cheruiyot turned his guns on Narok County Commissioner George Natembeya, saying he must bear responsibility of evicting the families from their farms.
“Mr Natembea should know he can run and he can hide in the interim, but in the long run, we shall get him and he will answer for all the misdeeds against the people,” Mr Cheruiyot said.
On the other hand, Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina, Narok North MP Moitalel Ole Kenta have thrown their weight behind the eviction, saying the forest must be protected for the current and future generations.
“The level of destruction in the Maasai Mau Forest is heart wrenching and the Mara River is threatened with extinction as a result,” Mr Ledama said.
The Senator said title deeds illegally acquired by the settlers should be revoked and the beneficiaries made to demand compensation from cartels that sold them the land.