Leaders demand probe as Mau evictees accuse officers of rape
- Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene to end the evictions.
- Kericho leaders met families kicked out of the Mau Forest at Triangle Primary School.
- The governor said the condition of 3,000 evictees has deteriorated into a humanitarian crisis, with evicted settlers living in makeshift houses.
Leaders from Kericho County have demanded immediate investigations into allegations of rape and other sexual offenses alleged to have been perpetrated by security officers who are conducting evictions in Maasai Mau Forest.
Led by Governor Paul Chepkwony, the leaders who had gone to a meeting with the evicted families at Triangle Primary School in Olulung’a ward, termed the allegations as “shocking.”
“We have been told that so many women have been raped here. The forces should take full responsibility for that. We are demanding that all further eviction plans be halted and this issue be thoroughly investigated,” said Prof Chepkwony.
The governor said the condition of 3,000 evictees has deteriorated into a humanitarian crisis, with evicted settlers living in makeshift houses.
He called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene to end the evictions and salvage the situation.
Mr Chepkwony, who last month moved to the Environment and Lands Court to challenge the evictions, expressed confidence that his argument would succeed and vowed to continue with the court battle against the evictions.
The governor questioned why people with valid title deeds have been evicted from their farms, noting that it was the responsibility of the government to protect the right to ownership of property.
In his suit, the governor wants the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining further evictions, claiming that private land owners were being evicted from their land.
The Kericho governor has named Cabinet secretaries for Lands and Interior as the first and second respondents.
He has also named the county commissioner for Narok, Administration Police commandant, National Land Commission, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Attorney General and Nyayo Tea Zones as respondents.
Bureti MP Japheth Mutai said the national government did not have a right to evict people residing on a community trust land, saying that mandate falls on the county government under whose jurisdiction the land falls.
He urged Narok governor Samuel Tunai to declare his stand on the evictions.
“We are asking Governor Tunai to tell us whether or not he authorised this illegal eviction of people from the Mau. We also want to know where the government was when people were issued with the title deeds they have,” said Mr Mutai.
The legislator further claimed that some people destroyed land documents in Narok to delegitimise the land ownership of the evictees and questioned why aid agencies have not flocked Narok to assist evictees.
Former Kipkelion MP Magerer Langat accused the government of using unnecessary brutal force to evict people from their homes.
Mr Langat said he was saddened by the rape allegations being levelled against security officers, terming the acts as beastly and demanding immediate action against those found culpable.
He demanded to know what will happen to students whose schools have been brought down by security forces during evictions.