Tuesday, November 17, 2009



November 16 2009

The Mau forest saga has sparked a war of words between ministers barely two days after they resolved to end such feuds at a Cabinet bonding session in Mombasa. Two ministers and an assistant minister went personal with the Prime Minister over an issue already agreed by the Cabinet.

Ministers William Ruto (Agriculture), Franklin Bett (Roads) and assistant minister Jebii Kilimo (Cooperative Development) accused Mr Raila Odinga of seeking international recognition over the Mau at the expense of settlers in the forest. The three, who were joined by more than a dozen MPs from the Rift Valley Province, said the government had agreed that those living the forest were to be resettled.

Taking the attack a notch higher, Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto now says the PM did not even win the disputed December 2007 General Election, asking him to let President Kibaki run the government. “The PM was appointed the Tanzanian way and should not claim to partly run the government. If he has any proof that he won the election let him share it with us,” said Mr Ruto.

Asked whether this public attack makes a joke of the bonding session the ministers and their assistants were meant to have at the Coast, the Chepalungu MP said the bonding was not confining. “How do you bond with people who do not keep their word? There was an agreement that the government will not move people and throw them into the cold as has happened. How can they say that everybody should go back to where they came from?” said the MP.

Nyanza MPs seemed to have prepared a rejoinder to their Rift Valley counterparts, but cancelled a press conference they had called at Parliament Building. Gwasi MP John Mbadi apologised to journalists who had gathered at the venue, saying they had to cancel it “because it could have been explosive”. “After wide consultations, we have decided to cancel this press conference on the Mau issue. I would like to apologise for this,” said Mr Mbadi.

The Mombasa communique the top government officers, headed by the President and PM, came up with was clear in its goals. The agreement stated that Cabinet ministers and their assistants will trust and respect each other, and any differences will be resolved through internal mechanisms.

“Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers will foster unity and cohesion within government by refraining from making adverse public utterances against fellow Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers, and those which could cast a bad image of the government,” said the Mombasa communique.

It further states that Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers shall abide by the principles of collective responsibility, a resolve that Agriculture minister would not abide by. “We have no apologies to make for demanding that these people be treated as human beings. To suggest that we should remain silent rather than talk for people like these is to suggest we represent animals,” Mr Ruto said in apparent reference to this clause of the communique.

The Agriculture minister said the PM should be held responsible for the humanitarian crisis facing the settlers, who have already spent a week in the cold, allegedly without food, clothing and medication. A statement signed by the chief coordinator of the Interim Coordinating Secretariat on the Mau, Mr Hassan Noor Hassan, which indicated that those moving out of the forest should return to their original homes, perhaps irks Rift Valley MPs more.

The MPs, however, claim that the people have no other home and that explains why they are now camping at Kipkongor. Elsewhere, National Heritage minister William Ole Ntimama asked Kalenjin MPs to stop inciting the squatters to go back to their farms in the forest, adding that they are acting unwisely.

He said the MPs are providing a recipe for disaster and ethnic clashes by demanding that the squatters be resettled on alternative land, without which they would be told to go back to their homes in the forest. “They are setting the stage for tribal clashes and a bid to exterminate all people. Everybody must be removed from the forest since Mau does not belong to them but to Kenyans and the world,” said the Narok North MP.

“Rivers are drying up, lake levels are going down and we don’t want a disaster for this country,” said Mr Ntimama, who has been among the most outspoken MPs on the restoration of the Mau since he raised the matter of its destruction in Parliament 10 years ago.

Mr Ntimama said the MPs should not be branded as Rift Valley leaders but representatives of the Kalenjin, the only group they were speaking for. Mr Ibrahim Mwathane, a consultant on land, accused the MPs of abdicating their responsibility to Kenyans and the rest of the world.

“The Rift Valley MPs seem to totally misunderstand their wider responsibility to this country,” said Mr Mwathane. Kenya Land Alliance head Odenda Lumumba said the lack of a clear policy on the resettlement has given politicians the opportunity to exploit the situation for their own selfish interests.


Submitted by kiingerald
Posted November 17, 2009 03:50 PM

This Ruto guy I think he likes listening to himself. In a way he is winning by making useless threat and statements but this negative publicity one day will haunt you. We are trying to save a country from disaster and someone has the guts to trivialize such efforts. Ooh yeah I forgot he has a land in Mau too. That is why he is anti-eviction. From 1993 where were all these people before then? They should go to where they came from and stop complicating the rehabilitation of the mau!!!

Submitted by knjami
Posted November 17, 2009 12:32 PM

I think some of these so called leaders are imature deliquents in their utterances. When squatters were removed from Hombe in Mt Kenya and at Solio, who compensated them? Why do these Kalenjins think they are more special than other Kenyans. Some of these MPs stole land in Mau and Ngong forest.

Submitted by Tribeless
Posted November 17, 2009 12:04 PM

The MPs are encouraging the 'settlers' to camp on the roadside as IDPs so as to gain sympathy among other Kalenjins. If they knew Raila never won, then why were they killing other Kenyans? For what cause?

Submitted by ZMAKORI
Posted November 17, 2009 11:57 AM

Mr. Ntimama/Mwathame are right.It is time we think as Kenyans to avoid bloodshed again.Everybody had a home before going to the forest don't cheat Kenyans.Mr. Ruto is having a hidden agenda against the PM he must stop.

Submitted by Samur
Posted November 17, 2009 11:48 AM

Its sad Isaac Ruto to say Raila never won 2007 elections.What a shame when Ruto was saying they fought coz Raila won Elections.Ruto and other Kalenjin MPs should mature up.Soon Kalenjins will be isolated by other Kenyans,Take care.

Submitted by cgitosh
Posted November 17, 2009 11:27 AM

These MPs should grow up. Most of them were in the KANU regime which is responsible for destruction of the forest. Some of them are even beneficiaries, now they want to blame it all on Raila for political mileage, give us a break, we are tired of your antics.

Submitted by Kimani_patric
Posted November 17, 2009 11:18 AM

I think Rift Valley MPs are confused. They should know that Mau forest is not for Rift valley but it is for the whole country and the PM has no personal interest but he is just trying to save the country as well as the whole world. These people should know that Kenya is in a different generation and they should not take us back.They should be ready to accept change.

Submitted by pishkaris
Posted November 17, 2009 11:18 AM

I support both groups in this matter.The government is right in saving the forest as its to benefit all.But the MPs must be heard as its inhumane to let innocent Kenyans suffer.Resettle them in large pieces of land owned by these politicians that are lying idle.

Submitted by otienoz
Posted November 17, 2009 10:57 AM

Well put: "Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto now says the PM did not even win the disputed December 2007 General Election, asking him to let President Kibaki run the government." If Raila was 100% sure he won the elections, why did he agree to share power and get the smaller side of the stick. Both Kibaki and Raila camps meddled with elections in their strongholds and that's why they agreed to share power. Kalenjins have realised late they banked their hopes on the wrong horse and fought for a thankless Mass Action General.

Submitted by njenge
Posted November 17, 2009 10:50 AM

I support the eviction for the illegal settlers only ,but for the genuine compensate them.I also support Ruto, Raila never won so let Kibaki rule

Submitted by Marbeni
Posted November 16, 2009 11:34 PM

Kenya, why are we sitting back watching these (what should I call them?!) "MPs" whip up emotion? If I were one of the principals I'd be sorely tempted to do a Moi (roadside sack) on them!

Submitted by jahazi
Posted November 16, 2009 10:51 PM

Mau and other water catchment areas have to be saved. Period! Silly sideshows.