What you need to know:
- Rift Valley regional commissioner in his peace meeting held at Nessuit centre Tuesday warned the communities against taking the law into their hands as well as trying to forcefully evict others through violence.
- Mr Natembeya said any person found engaging in any criminal activity will be dealt with as an individual
Reasons why two communities in Molo and Njoro are clashing have been revealed.
Lack of land titles, eviction fears and cattle theft have been cited to be the main factors triggering ethnic clashes the southern areas of the Mau Forest.
The two communities living in Marioshoni and Nessuit areas which were affected by a wave of violent ethnic clashes last week claim lack of land titles, theft of animals and fear of being evicted from the forest land by the government is what has fuelled the tribal animosity among them.
The two blamed each other for the deadly feuds witnessed last week. The flare up left five people dead, 80 injured and more than 3,000 displaced.
One community has accused the other of starting the fight in a bid to evict them from the parcels which they had earlier sold them.
They claim tension began when the government announced plans to reclaim part of the forest land which was allegedly encroached by human settlement.
Mr Daniel Lagat, 76 said he bought his parcel in Nessuit in 1994 from a member of the other community on which he settled and cultivated with his family.
He noted that he lived peacefully with the community until recently when forest evictions was announced by the government.
“When they sold the land to us, some of the members moved further into the forest and when they were asked to leave, they started to fight.
“This is because they want us to leave so that they take back the parcels that they sold to us,” said Mr Langat.
Mr Jackson Kumare on the other hand claims cattle theft is what has been triggering the violence.
He claimed that some Kipsigis have been stealing their animals and when the suspect is apprehended it turns into an issue involving the entire community.
Mr Kumare denied that the members of one community wanted to take back the parcels arguing that both communities have been affected by the forest evictions.
“Anytime a suspect is attacked, their women begin screaming which causes tension and is assumed that we have attacked the entire community. They run into the forest and the next thing we hear is somebody has been killed,” said Mr Kumare.
He claimed that some politicians have been using the violence for political mileage.
According to him, the government need to deal with the crime, define the cutline before settling the residents.
Rift Valley regional commissioner in his peace meeting held at Nessuit centre Tuesday warned the communities against taking the law into their hands as well as trying to forcefully evict others through violence.
Mr George Natembeya said any person found engaging in any criminal activity will be dealt with as an individual.
He however denied issuing orders to evict residents from the forest land saying that the government was still planning on when to do so.
Mr Natembeya said the government is aware of 35 acres of land that were degazetted for human settlement and will only be reclaiming the land that was excised from the forest.
“We are in the process of finding the solution to the problem affecting land in this region and we have not begun any evictions. Once the cutline is marked then all those who will be on the wrong side will be evicted,” said Mr Natembeya.
Mr Natembeya said no one who encroached the forest will be spared in the process.
He also warned those who sold their lands from trying to evict the new owners saying that the government will not allow.
Mr Natembeya, who was accompanied by the regional security team said the government has begun the process of finding solution through holding peace forums in the affected areas of Nessuit and Marioshoni.
MP Charity Kathambi however accused the government of failing to undertake public participation process before deciding on the cutline.
Ms Kathambi called on the government to remove the caveats from the land and give the residents title deeds so that they can make transactions with the land.
“It is a shame that we have government surveyors who keep visiting the area and have not been able to establish the forest cutline. How long are we going to wait as our people keep fighting?” said Ms Kathambi.