4 April 2006

Kenya: Stop Forest Evictions, 15 Rift Valley MPs Tell State

Nairobi — The Government has been warned against evicting thousands of squatters from forests in Rift Valley Province.

Fifteen MPs from the province asked the Government to suspend the evictions and instead find lasting solutions to landlessness.

Speaking in two separate meetings in Nandi North District at the weekend, the MPs asked the Government to settle all the squatters in the country.

The MPs, who included Musa Sirma, William Ruto, David Koros, Linah Kilimo, Franklin Bett, Joseph Korir, Joseph Lagat, William Boit, Jim Choge, Sammy Ruto, Henry Kosgey, John Sambu and Stephen Tarus, condemned the eviction of squatters from Kipkurere forest in Nandi and Uasin Gishu last week.

Their sentiments were supported by women's leader Judith Kosgey and Liberal Democratic Party official Augustine Cheruiyot.

They said that eviction of squatters at Kipkurere and at Mau Narok had interfered with learning among school children and had destabilised families.

Mr Kosgey, a Kanu national vice-chairman, asked why the 3,000 Kipkurere squatters who had lived peacefully under the two previous governments were now being asked to quit the land.

The MPs said it was wrong for the police to torch houses of peasants who were struggling to make ends meet.

Mr Sirma said the eviction was only targeting one community in Rift Valley and asked why it was not carried out in other provinces.

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