31 October 2012

Kenya: Mau Leader Rejects Deal to Settle IDPs On Rose Farm

Leaders from Mau Narok have objected to fresh attempts by the government to resettle internal refugees on the 2,400-acre Rose Farm. The leaders disowned an agreement between National Heritage minister William ole Ntimama and Lands minister James Orengo that okayed the resettlement.

Speaking in Nakuru, community leader Josephat ole Mpoe said the community was not consulted during the negotiations. "Instead of Orengo holding meetings in board rooms in Nairobi with people purporting to talk on our behalf, he should come to the ground and listen to our concerns," he said. "Ntimama does not speak on our behalf."

Mpoe said the farm is the Maasai's ancestral land and warned that tension is building up following media reports that some 800 internal refugees will be resettled in the farm in a few weeks.

"We said we do not want any IDPs resettled here. That did not give the green light to substitute the IDPs with Mau Forest evictees. All are not welcome," he said.

There is a case before the High Court in Nairobi that is expected to give a ruling on the ownership of the land. "If the government shows no respect for the rule of law, then they should not expect us to. Any activity on the land will be warded off until the court delivers its ruling," Mpoe said.

He accused Ntimama of trying to pacify the community with the promise of setting up a university, a cultural centre and other social amenities on the land saying the government is obligated under the constitution to provide these amenities.

"Many in the community feel that the Agricultural Development Corporation and Kenya Agricultural Research Institute remain on the land until the court makes a ruling," Mpoe said.

He further said activists involved in the fight against the resettlement like Professor Meitamei ole Dapash were not consulted before Ntimama signed off the land. Mpoe accused Ntimama of using the community's land to boost ODM's popularity in the area.

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