Deputy President William Ruto Saturday differed with a section of Narok leaders over the Mau forest evictions during the burial ceremony of Senior Chief Samuel Koriata in Narok South.
The DP reiterated that evictions of over 2,500 families living beyond the cutline would continue, saying environmental conservation was crucial for the country.
“I am the one who issued orders to stop the destruction of forests in the country. I also ordered those beyond the Mau cutline to move out. Let’s stop politics of conservation, let’s come together as leaders and seek solutions and not create problems out of it,” said the DP.
He waded into the Mau issue after Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta started the debate and called on the DP to declare his stand on the evictions.
Mr Kenta said the Mara ecosystem will be destroyed if the government does not stop the human encroachment.
He called on Mr Ruto to address the issue, saying many people living in Narok, Bomet, Kisumu, Migori and Tanzania depend on the forest.
The MP took a swipe at Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony for filing a petition at the African Court of Justice in Tanzania to stop the evictions and asked him to withdraw the case.
Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina said: “Conservation of the Maasai Mau forest for the Maa community is a matter of life and death. We appreciate the government for the efforts it has made so far but we call on it not to relent in the remaining phase of the forest evictions.”
However, when the DP, who was accompanied by Governor Samuel Tunai and his Kajiado counterpart Joseph ole Lenku, rose to speak, he asked the leaders to stop politicising the Mau forest evictions and instead work together and seek solutions to the arising issues.
“The exercise is not targeting any specific community but is for the good of the country. Let’s come together as leaders and discuss the best ways to resolve this,’’ said Mr Ruto.
“As I said last year, I want all those who have gone beyond the registered cutlines to move out immediately,” Mr Ruto said. The DP promised several development projects for Narok residents among them roads.
He said the construction of the Narok-Sikinani, Narok-Mai, Ololulunga-Sogoo, Kilgoris-Murkan, Narok-Kajiado through Suswa-Ngong roads and joining Migori with Narok are ongoing.
He said that in the last five years, some 40,000 households have been connected to electricity in the Last Mile connectivity programme.
“We are also in the process of building some 3,000 houses in Narok County under the Big 4 Agenda on housing and we need 15,000 youths to help us build the units,” said Mr Ruto.
Narok County Commissioner George Natembeya said some 1,050 families had been removed from the forest, freeing 4,500 hectares, over the past four days.
Interior Chief Administrative Secretary Patrick ole Ntutu urged leaders to stop politicising the Mau Forest conservation efforts and instead embrace dialogue and look for amicable solutions that will not create conflict between communities.
Governors Tunai and Lenku, MPs Korei Lemein (Narok South), Gebriel Tongoyo (Narok West), David Ole Sankok (Nominated ) said the Jubilee government was already delivering projects under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.