Political leaders and Myoot Kipsigis Council of Elders from South Rift region have raised concern over the fate of hundreds of families who have been evicted from their farms in Mau area in Narok County.
The leaders, led by former Bomet governor, Isaac Ruto and retired Bishop, Paul Leleito who is the Myoot Kipsigis Council of Elders Chairman said the victims faced untold sufferings and should be assisted at all costs to lead normal lives like the rest of Kenyans.
Briefing journalists after a –five-hour-closed door meeting at a Kericho hotel on Monday evening, Ruto revealed that they resolved to raise funds to meet legal costs for a number of cases before courts in Nakuru and Arusha, Tanzania as one of the ways of assisting the affected families.
The political leaders, included former Roads Minister, Franklin Bett and former MPs, Zakayo Cheruiyot (Kuresoi South), Paul Sang (Bureti), Magerer Langat (Kipkelion) and Charles Kirui (Belgut), several former councilors from the South Rift region, a few professionals from the region and Law Society of Kenya South Rift branch chairman Geoffrey Kipng’etich Korir among others.
“As one of the ways of assisting the Mau victims (evictees), we have agreed unanimously that we will mobilize leaders and the rest of the residents from the affected regions to raise money to meet the costs of the cases in court concerning the evictions,” said Ruto.
The former governor said the funds raised would settle lawyers’ fees and facilitate the victims to attend courts proceedings over the matters.
“We want justice for the Mau victims that is why we have agreed to assist them in the court cases. We want the truth and fairness over the matters because the victims have land documents. We also want to set the record straight that this is not a political issue,” said Ruto.
They picked Bishop Leleito as chairman to coordinate plans to raise funds, while Magerer is the secretary and Christopher Bore as treasurer.
Ruto claimed that the government has moved to court to allegedly revoke close to 600 land title deeds in Mau, saying they were going to oppose the move, arguing that they want the affected people settled.
Kericho governor, Paul Chepkwony has moved to East African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania over the eviction matter. Chepkwony has taken the government to court over the evictions of hundreds of families from the Mau Forest area terming it as an abuse of human rights.
Governor Chepkwony said over 5, 000 pupils allegedly evicted from the Mau had been denied their right to the basic education. In a temporary application, he wants the court to compel the government to provide the pupils with education facilities. Several cases on Mau eviction have been filed in Nakuru courts.
The government is planning to carry out a second eviction of the Mau residents targeting close to 40, 000 people on the grounds that they had allegedly encroached on the country’s major water towers in the Mau forest Complex.
By Dominic Cheres/Mildred/Sylvia/ Kiptoo