Four Members of Parliament from the Maa community have warned against politicising the ongoing Mau forest evictions, saying this could lead to ethnic tension.
The MPs – Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West), Lemanken Aramat (Narok East), Korei Ole Lemein (Narok South) and nominated MP David ole Sankok – said they fully support the government’s move to evict illegal settlers in the Mau forest.
“We want to warn leaders visiting Mau residents to avoid making statements that are tribal, that might incite the people,” Mr Aramat said.
“The Mau issue is very emotive and therefore politicians should not incite people who have been living together peacefully for years,” said Mr Ole Lemein.
The lawmakers regretted that politicians have politicised the Mau matter at the expense of environmental conservation.
“The Mau issue is not a community affair, Raila affair, President Kenyatta affair or the Kalenjin affair but about the conservation of our environment,” said Mr Sankok.
“Water from Mau contributes about 60 per cent of water in Lake Victoria and therefore must be conserved at all costs,” Mr Sankok added.
The MPs, however, urged the government to carry out the exercise in a humane manner and compensate those with genuine title deeds.
They said there are individuals who were duped by Lands officials to buy land in the forest and therefore deserve compensation.
“Those who sold Mau land to unsuspecting Kenyans must be tracked down and held responsible for the current mess,” Mr Sankok said.
On Monday, the Nation reported how a last-minute call from President Uhuru Kenyatta saved Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen from imminent removal from his powerful parliamentary post over his comments on the Mau Forest evictions, seen to contradict the government’s position.
Mr Tongoyo said the title deeds held by some people in the forest belong to the government hence they must be provided with alternative settlement areas.
“Some title deeds were provided by the same government currently evicting the people. As the representatives of the people, no one should be harassed by the security officers,” Mr Tongoyo said.
Mr Murkomen, the Elgeyo-Marakwet senator, on Saturday dared President Kenyatta to contradict him on the evictions, which he said were not only being done inhumanely, but which he claimed had also unfairly claimed as victims people outside the forest
On Sunday, Jubilee Party secretary-general Raphael Tuju termed the sentiments of Mr Murkomen on the Mau evictions as personal.
Mr Tuju insisted that the eviction will go on, despite the resistance by Mr Murkomen and a section of Rift Valley leaders.