Star (Kenya)

May. 29, 2017, 9:00 am

People evicted from Mau Forest gather to receive a donation of blankets in Kapkembu, November 18, 2009. /REUTERS
People evicted from Mau Forest gather to receive a donation of blankets in Kapkembu, November 18, 2009. /REUTERS

Raila Odinga has said claims he plans to evict Mau Forest settlers are “pure propaganda” and noted he will not punish Rift Valley residents.

There have been fears that NASA will kick settlers out of the forest should Raila and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka win the August 8 general election.

But the ODM leader told a Kalenjin radio station on Monday morning that his government will not interfere with people living on gazetted land.

While responding to questions by callers, the Opposition chief accused President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration of neglecting evictees as they are still in IDP camps.

“They neglected them when they took over power yet they had claimed during campaigns that they would resettle them within 100 days,” he said.

Raila said the 2008 eviction resulted from a cabinet decision aimed at protecting resources and resettling the evictees.

He added locals should not be allowed to carry out illegal logging in the water catchment area but noted they deserve proper resettlement.

Mau evictees have asked NASA leader Raila Odinga to address their plight following their displacement from the forest in 2015.

They accused the Jubilee administration of failing to resettle them and adding they were “tired of false promises since the inhumane evictions”.

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled on Friday that Kenya has violated the forest-dwelling Ogiek people’s rights to land, religion, culture, development and non-discrimination.

The Ogiek live in the Mau Forest – Kenya’s largest water catchment area – in the Rift Valley. But along with other hunter gatherer communities they have faced repeated evictions from the land since colonial times.

Noting his work is to keep the government in check, Raila said he did not oppose the Sh38 billion Itare dam in Kuresoi North for no reason.

He said elders approached him and filed a petition at the Nakuru High Court asking him to get them a lawyer.

On Standard Gauge Railway, Raila said Jubilee only implemented existing plans.

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