Senators target Keriako Tobiko over Mau eviction

Wednesday March 18 2020

Senators Aaron Cheruiyot (left, Kericho) welcomes Dr Christopher Langat (Bomet) during prayer day at Moi Sitotwet Secondary School in Kericho County on July 27, 2018. They want evictions in Mau forest stopped. PHOTO | ANITA CHEPKOECH | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Jubilee senators now want Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko to speak on the ongoing Mau forest eviction.

Led by Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, the leaders said there is a political scheme targeting a particular community living in the area.

"In Mau forest there are two operations. One is saving the forest, which we all support, but there is another political operation aimed at reducing the Kalenjin community significantly in Narok in order to solve some political equation," Mr Cheruiyot said during prayer day at Moi Sitotwet Secondary School in Kericho on Friday.

"We are demanding that CS Tobiko declares his interest in this Mau saga. How come he is silent yet the major agencies taking part in flashing out the people like Kenya Forest Service and the Kenya Water Towers Agency are under his ministry?"

More than 9,000 people have been rendered homeless following the multiagency operation at Nkoben, Kosia, Arorwet, Olapa, Chemongei, Kitoben, Kiletweny and Cheptwech.

Narok County Commissioner George Natembeya said phase two of the operation, which is targeting 40,000 settlers, is in the offing; now that the Environment and Lands Court on July 25 refused to issue conservatory orders stopping the eviction from Maasai Mau Forest.


Senator Cheruiyot said the eviction has interrupted the education of children, and has also put them at risk of contracting diseases after being left homeless.

His Bomet colleague Christopher Langat has also complained of biased treatment of the settlers.

"The world is now mistaking us for being unconscious about environmental conservation, yet we are great conservationists.

"What we are saying is that people who have encroached the forest have been unfairly treated. We witnessed people being assaulted with crude weapons," Dr Langat said.


Also present at the event was Ainamoi MP Sylvanus Maritim and Kapsoit MCA Paul Chirchir.

Mr Maritim questioned why the government put up schools and even campaigned in the contested areas during last year's general election, only to later chase the settlers away from their homes.

"We shall conserve the environment but not at the expense of people's lives, especially those residing in the rightful areas.

"Let us not kill our people in the name of conserving the environment. The future of many young people whose education has been cut short is at stake," Mr Maritim said.

They said they will not be cowed by intimidation when defending the welfare of the citizens.