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October 22, 2018

Call leaders meeting to end Mau bloodshed, Uhuru and Ruto urged

One of the houses burnt on September 24 in Olangabei, Narok, following the renewed clashes between two communities in Olposimoru / BEN NDONGA
One of the houses burnt on September 24 in Olangabei, Narok, following the renewed clashes between two communities in Olposimoru / BEN NDONGA

The government has been asked to convene a meeting of all leaders from the South Rift to discuss the ongoing clashes between communities living in the Mau Forest.

Bomet governor Joyce Laboso said the government has failed to address the ‘grave’ issue, leading to the loss of many lives.

She urged President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto to sit down with all leaders from Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru and Narok counties and iron out issues that have led to the clashes.

Laboso said leaders from the area understand residents’ problems. She spoke in Sotik on Sunday. “We want our people to coexist like before. At the moment development has been affected, children are not going to school and if leaders keep ignoring this, fighting will not stop any time soon,” Laboso said.

Bomet senator Christopher Langat said an urgent solution ought to be found so residents can live in peace.

A month ago, Laboso and her Kericho counterpart Paul Chepkwony wrote to the President, seeking his audience over the issues surrounding the conservation of the Mau Forest.

They have not said whether the President received or replied to their letter. The fighting between the Kipsigis and Maasai communities in parts of Mau in Narok started after the evictions of people who had encroached on forest land.

Leaders from the Kipsigis have blamed Narok senator Ledama Kina for the clashes, saying his public utterances incited the two communities.

This followed allegations he caused inter-ethnic clashes in Olposimoru and Nkoben areas. But Ledama denied claims he fuelled the clashes by inciting the Maasai community against the Kipsigis. He instead blamed a section of Rift Valley leaders who frequently visit the area for causing the violence.

The legislator maintained that those who have encroached the Mau Forest should be removed because the water catchment benefits millions of people..

The fights have since spread to some parts of Nakuru county.

Last month, the clashes were said to be linked to evictions from the Mau Forest. Landowners who felt duped into buying non-existent parcels were venting their frustrations on one community.

Two major communities – the Kalenjin and Maasai – were pointing fingers at each other.

In August, the government said those evicted from the forest will not be compensated.

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