3 January 2013

Kenya: No Land Yet for Mau, Embobut Evictees - State

The government is yet to find land where it will resettle families evicted from the Mau and Embobut forests. Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi says lack of land has been hampering the resettlement of the evictees ahead of the general election.

"We are trying hard but its difficult to get land for the victims though we are looking into other ways to ensure the families get homes as soon as possible," said the minister.

She spoke after visiting areas hit by mudslides in Kerio Valley. More than 3,000 families of Mau forest evictees and another 4,000 in Embobut have been living in camps as they await for the government to buy land to resettle them.

Treasury has already released Sh3 billion to the Ministry of Lands to buy land, but Murugi says the government has yet to find a suitable land.

More than 600 of the Mau evictees are lucky to have been resettled in Rongai in Nakuru and Chemusian Farm in Eldoret. Six hundred and sixty five families were given homes last year.

Last week the Head of the Civil Service Francis Kimemia visited the families resettled at Chemusian. He said the cabinet will decide how to resettle the more than 10,000 IDP families and other evictees before the elections.

With only two months to the polls, Kimemia said the government will make a decision on how to get land for their resettlement.

The government is considering to use part of its land owned by ministries and parastatals to resettle the families which include those evicted from Mau and Embobut forests.

The Ministry of Agriculture through its Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) owns huge tracts of land, mostly in Rift Valley, which may be used for the resettlement if the government will not be able to get alternative land. Kimemia also admitted that the government was finding it hard to get adequate land for the families to get new homes.

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