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Mau evictions: Njoro MP calls for fairness during exercise

Sunday July 12 2020
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Njoro MP Charity Kathambi Chepkwony speaks at Mauche Primary School in Njoro on July 12, 2020. PHOTO |FRANCIS MUREITHI |NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI

Njoro MP Charity Kathambi Chepkwony has urged the government to extend the ongoing eviction of illegal settlers in Mau Forest to all encroachers.

Ms Chepkwony claimed the exercise, which started in Mariashoni last week, is targeting the poor land owners at the expense of ‘influential’ people who own large tracks of land in the water tower.

A former State House operative during the Daniel Moi era and top civil servants in Jubilee government are among those who own Ngongongeri Farm in Njoro.

She claimed Politicians and powerful individuals who own the expansive farm next to Mau Forest in Mariashoni area in Molo have not been issued with eviction notices like members of the Ogiek community who are being evicted from the water tower.

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Illegal settlers in Mau Forest in Mariashoni area leave the forest on July 9, 2020. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

 “Let the eviction be fair and across the board instead of the current scenario where only grass thatched houses are burnt and those powerful individuals who were allocated land are not touched,” she said.

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According to the legislator, the next eviction, which targets about 20,000 households, will be done in Nessuit, Tachasis Chepkosa, Sururu and Likia.  

 She said in her constituency, no one has gone past the forest cutline as per the Kenya Forest Service. She said that most of the land owners in her constituency have been issued with title deeds by the Ministry of Lands but have been put on caveat.

 “I urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to stop all the evictions including the pending demolitions in Ngong Forest,” said Ms Chepkwony.

She said the ongoing evictions is coming a time when the country is battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “Many vulnerable people like the elderly and children are now living in the cold and if no action is not taken, more Covid-19 positive cases will be registered,” said Ms Chepkwony.

She also revealed that the Ministry of Education had released a report indicating that all schools constructed in Njoro where the next eviction will be carried out have not been registered since they are occupying forest land. 

 “I have plans to increase the number of secondary schools in Njoro in support of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 100 percent transition from primary to secondary schools but that has hit a snag as the government has put caveat on most of the land in my constituency which borders Mau Forest,” said Ms Chepkwony.

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Some of the Mau Forest evictees ponder their next move on July 2, 2020. PHOTO |FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

She said the ongoing eviction should be halted until the rising curve of the coronavirus pandemic is flattened.

 “The evictions will affect food security as many evictees had planted crops which are about to be harvested,” she said.

 The Kenya Forest Service is undertaking a multi-agency operation to reclaim Logoman, Sururu, Likia, Kiptunga, Mariashoni, Nessuit, Baraget and Oleposmoru forests within the Mau Complex.

The operation, which started on June 27, seeks to stop all illegal human activities in government forests which form the Eastern side of Mau Forest Complex.

So far, 4,500 hectares of forest land have been recovered.  

The legislator appealed to President Kenyatta to intervene and stop the looming demolition of houses in Ngong Forest.   

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