DENIED PERMIT

Protests against Mau eviction to go on, say planners

Mau eviction

In Summary

• The group maintained that the demonstrations will go in all parts of the South Rift as earlier planned.

 

Bomet county commissioner Geoffrey Omoding at a past meeting
MAU: Bomet county commissioner Geoffrey Omoding at a past meeting
Image: /Felix Kipkemoi

Protests against planned evictions of people living in the Mau Forest will continue, conveners of the failed Bomet prayer meeting have said.

The group said denying them a permit to hold the meeting on Saturday was in a bad light.

They said they will not bow to threats by the government, adding that demonstrations will go on in all parts of the South Rift as earlier planned. 

 

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) South rift chairman Geoffrey Kipngetich, who led the group, on Friday accused Bomet county commissioner Geoffrey Omoding of denying them a permit to hold the meeting on grounds that the rally would interfere with the national exams. The KCPE exam ended on Thursday.

“It is unfortunate that he denied us the opportunity to hold the prayer rally, yet we are aware that there is no exam on Saturday…unless he tells us students from Bomet are still sitting the exam on a weekend,” Kipngetich said in Bomet on Friday.

Reached for comment, Omoding said, "Police are the ones who sanction public meetings, not me."

He, however, defended the police, saying they did not want any ugly incidents during the day as they had intelligence reports that some individuals were planning to disrupt the event. 

"People living in Mau moved out voluntarily, and we did not want a situation where it would look like it was being politicised again," Omoding said.

"It was in the best interest of our children during this exam period," he added.

The first meeting was to be held at Bomet Stadium and several leaders, including former Bomet governor Isaac Rutto, were to attend.

 

On Thursday, the group through the LSK wrote to the officer commanding police station seeking a permit to hold the meeting. The request was turned down on grounds that it would amount to incitement and breach of peace.

 

Omoding questioned why the leaders would not hold meetings in Narok, where the evictions would happen.

"In fact, Mau is not fully within our area. We have Nakuru and Narok. Bomet has the least number of those affected," he said.

On Friday, the leaders from the Rift held a meeting in Nairobi where they agreed to shelve the prayer rallies.

Last week, a section of leaders vowed to hold public rallies and block roads along the Kericho and Narok routes to express their disapproval over the eviction.