Kalenjin Community leaders last Saturday set aside their political differences to issue a common stand over the emotive Mau Forest issue that if implemented would see thousands of the community members kicked out of Narok County.
The leaders, who included, Isaac Ruto-who represented Gideon Moi’s divide and Kipchumba Murkomen-the Commander of the Deputy President William Ruto’s lieutenants made the same declaration with one accord after the five-hour closed-door meeting at a Nakuru hotel.
The meeting dealt a blow Raila Odinga and Gideon Moi who had seized the Rift elderly politicians with intent to use them to portray that the community is divided and opposed to DP Ruto.
The perceived rebels who joined elected leaders at the meeting were Isaac Ruto, former Bureti MP Franklin Bett, Magerer Lang’at and Zakayo Cheruiyot who sent an apology and promised to attend the subsequent meetings.
Contrary to the NASA Principal’s wish, the leaders claimed that 60,000 families targeted occupy a Trust Land managed by the Narok County government and not Mau Forest.
The Senate Leader of Majority who is the Rift Parliamentary Group leader said the families are genuine buyers of land and cannot be categorized as forest dwellers.
Echoing his sentiments, Isaac Ruto said the families were genuinely allotted the lands in 1973 demanding that the government officials should not mislead the public with claims that they are forest occupants.
Ruto added that if they are illegal settlers why do we have schools, chiefs and duly elected leaders representing the region.
He said, there is a need for proper consultation and discussion on the same, since over 10,000 schooling children as well as several expectant mothers.
“We will not allow illegal displacement to trouble the lives of innocent people who are genuine settlers. We, therefore, ask the international community to bear with us as we try to solve this issue once and for all” he said
Leaders present were Governors Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Hilary Barchok (Bomet), former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, Beatrice Kones (Bomet East), Nelson Koech (Belgut), Gideon Keter (Nominated),Hillary Kosgei (Kipkelion West), Joseph Limo (Kipkelion East), Julius Melly (Tinderet), Caleb Kositany (Soi), Liza Chelule (Nakuru Woman MP) ,Kericho Woman Rep Florence Bore.
Also, Nelson Koech (Belgut), Joseph Tonui (Kuresoi South), Janet Sitienei (Turbo), Sylvanus Maritim (Ainamoi MP), and Dominick Koskei (Sotik) were present.
Reports indicate that the meeting has upset Raila who a day after the event remorsefully threatened that Tangatanga MPs should be swept away.
Since he has sensed defeat over the issue of Mua, Raila only has Building Bridges Initiative-led Referendum as a chance to see him back to power.