Government will not forcefully evict families from Mau forest, says Deputy President William Ruto

Marakwet, Kenya: The Government will not use force to evict families, which have invaded Mau forest among other water catchment areas in the country, Deputy President William Ruto has said.

The Deputy President said the Government would involve leaders from the affected areas before decisions are made on any action to be taken against those who have invaded the Mau forest.  “Leaders should come up with a consensus on the plan of action as far as those who have invaded forests are concerned but use of force should not be applied,” said Ruto.

“Leaders are working together with relevant authorities to come up with a consensus on how to solve the problem and nobody will be evicted by use of force,” he added.

Speaking at Kakaya grounds in Embobut forest, Elgeyo/Marakwet County on Saturday during a tour of the Chesoi- Tirap-Sambalat road, Ruto said burning of houses belonging to those who have invaded forests was not a lasting solution to the fight against forest destruction.

The Deputy President was accompanied by Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/Marakwet), MPs William Kisang (Marakwet West) and Bowen Kangogo (Marakwet East) and deputy governor Daniel Lamaon. He called for concerted efforts in the fight against wanton destruction of forests in the country to avert desertification.

The Deputy President commended residents in Marakwet East for heeding the Government’s call to voluntarily move out of Embobut forest noting that there was enough water for both domestic and irrigation following conservation efforts of the water catchment area. He said the Government would compensate those families that moved out of the forest and those who missed the first phase of the compensation.

“I am happy that those who had invaded Embobut Forest have since voluntarily moved out and the conservation efforts are bearing fruits. We will compensate those families which missed the recent compensation exercise,” said Ruto.

The Deputy President maintained that all political parties affiliated to Jubilee coalition should embrace the newly formed Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) as their political vehicle to ascend to power come the next general election. “We have resolved to bring all our parties including United Democratic Front (UDF), United Republican Party (URP), The National Alliance (TNA), New Ford-Kenya, Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) as one way of uniting this country,” said Mr Ruto.

“We are prepared and ready to woo all Kenyans to join JAP for the next government and this is why I ask you to work with us in this journey to bring all our affiliate parties under JAP,” he added.

The Deputy President urged leaders to help the Government in fighting tribalism and negative ethnicity. “It is our responsibility as leaders to unite and engage in activities that can promote harmonious relations among all the Kenyan communities and fight negative ethnicity,” he said.

“As Government we are focused on bringing together all the different ethnic communities and have a country that all of us will be proud of.” He at the same time said contractors who fail to complete their work within the stipulated period risk losing their contracts. Addressing wananchi at Sambalat primary school after winding up his tour of the Maron- Sambalat road that is being tarmacked, the Deputy President said lazy contractors would not be spared.

He said construction work on the 36-kilometre road should be completed in the next eight months to ease movement of people and goods to and from the region. “We want to open up all parts of the country by improving infrastructure to enable farmers transport their farm produce to markets as well as reduce the cost of doing business in this country,” he said.

Murkomen urged residents in the area to embrace the newly formed JAP saying it was the only party that will have a national outlook. The Senator told off some leaders claiming that the formation of JAP was a plan aimed at sidelining the Kalenjin community.

“We formed Jubilee Alliance and we are firmly behind it. Now that we have decided to expand our party and call it JAP to accommodate other friendly parties shows that we are ready and prepared to bring in all Kenyans,” said Murkomen. “We want to have two or three major political parties in this country instead of having so many parties. This is why I ask you to embrace our new party, JAP,” he added.