Governor Chepkwony files suit to stop evictions in Maasai Mau

Wednesday July 25 2018

Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony. He wants the court to block the government from evicting settlers from Maasai Mau forest. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony has gone to court to stop the eviction of settlers in Maasai Mau forest by the government.

Governor Chepkwony on Wednesday filed the petition at the Environment and Lands Court in Narok before Justice Mohammed Kullow to oppose the exercise that will see more than 40,000 people kicked out.

READ: Leaders clash over Mau Forest border

Through lawyer Peter Wanyama, Mr Chepkwony claimed that the government is illegally evicting private owners of individual property comprising Reiyo, Enakishomi, Sisiyan, Enoosokon and Nkaroni group ranches.


The petitioner further stated that the eviction was being done inhumanely.


"The security officers burn houses, livestock and beat up the property owners in a brazen display of impunity and high-handedness. It is scorched earth eviction," the petition states.

The settlers say they have title deeds and that the ranches are not gazetted.

The governor listed Cabinet secretaries for Lands (Farida Karoney) and Interior (Fred Matiang'i), Narok County Commissioner George Natembeya and the National Land Commission as respondents.


He also argued that the evictions are being carried out inhumanely, accusing security officers of burning houses, livestock and beating up the owners.

"In 2008 the government created a huge cutline to separate group ranches and the forest where Nyayo Tea zones development corporation was allocated this land that borders the forest. They have planted tea on this forest boundary," part of the petition reads.

The settlers also filed their petition in court last week.

In 2005 the court stopped the government from conducting the evictions after the settlers filed a petition (civil case no. 644 of 2005). It also confirmed that they own the ranches.

Mr Chepkwony and the 15 settlers moved to court after phase one of the eviction from Kosia, Nkoben, Arorwet had been completed.

More than 9,000 have been forced out.