We may use force to get land, says VP

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka (left) presents foodstuffs to internally displaced families at the Pipeline IDP camp in Nakuru on Friday. More than 1,000 IDPs received the donations. Mr Musyoka was accompanied by Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi.

What you need to know:

  • Maasai leaders have opposed plans to resettle displaced people on a farm in Mau Narok

Force may be used to secure land for internal refugees, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka has said.

The VP noted that the government can use compulsory acquisition of land to resettle all IDPs, if need be.

Mr Kalonzo said he was pained to see people who were flushed out of their homes during the 2007 post-election violence still living in makeshift camps.

Speaking at the Pipeline camp in Nakuru, he said the law gives the government the right to acquire land by force: “It is unacceptable that they are still in camps but the government is taking this issue seriously.”

Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi, who is in charge of the internally displaced people, said resettlement in the controversial Mau Narok land will go ahead as planned despite resistance from some Maasai leaders.

“We will not be cowed by leaders who are keen on taking the country back to the dark days. Whether they like or not, we are not going back on this and no one can intimidate us,” she said.

There are 850 families living at the Pipeline camp in Nakuru.

Cabinet minister William ole Ntimama and other leaders have opposed the resettlement of the displaced in Mau Narok, claiming the land belongs to their ancestors.

On Friday, armed villagers barred a team of surveyors from accessing the land to demarcate it.

Armed with bows and arrows, the Maasai men threatened to lynch the surveyors and other government officials with them.

There were 20 officers in four vehicles including Mau-Narok DO James Mureithi.

A Maasai elder, Mr Justus ole Kiok, said the officers attracted the attention of the community opposed to the resettlement.

Mr Kiok said a group of youths stormed the farm that was bought from a British farmer, Mr David Hampshire Rose, and disrupted the survey work.

Another Maasai elder, Mr James ole Sanet, said they will not allow resettlement on the farm until their case, which is in court is determined.

“Why is the government forcing this resettlement down our thoughts? This is intimidation and we will not give in to it. We are calling on the government to dialogue instead of trying to use force or threats of force,” Mr Sanet said.

The Maasai assert that the controversial land is part of 30,000 acres taken from them by the British government and should be returned to them.