22 July 2018

Kenya: Mau Evictions Ill-Timed, North Rift Leaders Say

Photo: George Sayagie/Daily Nation
Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen addresses Mau forest settlers at Kitoben on July 19, 2018.

Leaders from the North Rift region have cautioned leaders over politicising Mau evictions.

The leaders faulted the government for the "abrupt" eviction of people living in the Mau after several houses were torched in bid to eject the residents from the water tower.

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo blamed the government, saying it should have devised a resettlement plan before evicting Mau residents.

Lonyangapuo said evictees have been exposed to the cold July weather and rain, warning national exam candidates will be affected.

The governor urged politicians to exercise caution and avoid uttering words that may create havoc among communities residing in the Mau area.

Prof Lonyangapuo challenged the national government to use the same people being evicted to plant trees in the forest as it looks for resettlement lands.

MURKOMEN REMARKS

The governor was speaking at Chepareria in Pkomo, two days after Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen toured Mau and made comments that have sparked outrage.

Mr Murkomen linked the truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition figure Raila Odinga to the Mau evictions.

Now, the Igembe North MP Maore Maoka has called for the removal of Mr Murkomen from his position as Senate majority leader over the Mau remarks.

Speaking to the Nation, Mr Maoka said Mr Murkomen's remarks were personal attacks on President Kenyatta.

Mr Murkomen asked illegal settlers from Kosia and Nkoben areas to go back to their homes in the Mau forest and threatened police officers conducting the evictions with disciplinary action.

Mr Maoka said the Senate Majority leader had crossed the red line.

"From his tone and comments, Mr Murkomen should be relieved of his duties as majority leader immediately. He is supposed to be the face and the voice of government," Mr Maoka said.

Pokot South MP David Pkosing also faulted the government for evicting people without a resettlement plan.

"Residents have no food and the move can lead to lawlessness. They should conduct the program with humanity... ," he said.

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