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Governor Ruto at loggerheads with DP Ruto over fate of Mau settlers

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto addressing residents at Sogoo,Narok South. [PHOTO:ROBERT KIPLAGAT]

Governor Isaac Ruto has put Deputy President William Ruto on the spot for allegedly failing to address the Mau Forest issue.

The governor, who held a series of rallies in Kipsigis-dominated areas in Narok South such as Sogoo and Olmekenyu at the weekend, said in the run-up to the 2013 General Election, they had agreed with the DP how to resettle or compensate Mau evictees but he allegedly did nothing about it.

Ruto, who received a rousing welcome in the same place where the DP was given a lecture by residents about development, said they had agreed that three other governors whose counties share the Mau – Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru), Samuel Tunai (Narok) and Kericho’s Paul Chepkwony – would be involved, but nothing happened.

Recipe for conflict

“I would first like to apologise to you (Kipsigis) for convincing you to vote for Jubilee. The DP had told me he would address the matter once he ascended to power but up to now, there are no title deeds or compensation,” said Ruto.

The Chama Cha Mashinani party leader also asked the DP to come out clearly on rumours that a caveat put on the Mau had been lifted, saying the DP could be duping locals for political reasons.

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“The DP excluded the governors from the Mau Forest issue and did nothing about it. I was told they met in Naivasha over the same matter and agreed to ‘lift’ the caveat yet they do not want us to know,” he said.

Early this year, while addressing residents in Sogoo, the DP assured those in the settlement area not to worry as “no one would evict them”.

He said the Government had put a cut-line on the forest and the settlement area.

“Every Kenyan has a right to live anywhere in this country. You are there rightfully. You are not squatters in your own country,” the DP had said.

Recently, Opposition leaders from the Maasai community opposed an alleged Government plot to lift the 15-year-old caveat on the 360,000-acre forest, saying the move was a recipe for inter-communal conflicts.

Led by Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta and former ICT Permanent Secretary Joseph Tiampati, who is gunning for the governorship, the leaders said the Government’s “underground” move was illegal and they would not allow it to happen.

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