Environment CS Keriako Tobiko was on the receiving end in Parliament on Tuesday, September 10, after Njoro MP Charity Kathambi and Hillary Koskei of Kipkellion West banged tables and shouted themselves hoarse, calling Tobiko's presence a farce.
This was after the CS, who had been called to appear before the National Assembly Committee on Environment, ruled out the compensation of the people being evicted from the Mau Forest, despite claims legal ownership from affected residents.
“The ballooning into the forest would not have occurred without the participation of ranch and government officials. The fact that the documents were signed by government officials does not make an illegal document legal," stated the CS.
But where did all the drama surrounding the Mau begin?
In September 2009, retired President Daniel Moi had gone to Keiyo, Elgeyo Marakwet County, for a thanksgiving ceremony in his honour. At about that time, then Prime Minister Raila Odinga had declared that the Grand Coalition Government was going to flush people out of the Mau Forest.
Moi called out Rift Valley leaders present for not adequately talking about the issue.
"Mtu anatoka nje, na anakuja Rift Valley kusema watu wafanye hivi, kwani hakuna wanaume Rift Valley? (How can you let outsiders tell you what to do. Aren't there men in Rift Valley?)" he asked, to a raucuous applause.
The retired president was calling upon the region's leaders to man up and handle their affairs, as opposed to lying down and letting outsiders take care of the issues for them.
He also stated that people should consult when it comes to matters concerning the Mau. He challenged that forests were being destroyed all over the country fingers were only pointed to the Mau.
Moi also had a message for those who were pushing the evictions back then.
"Unaondoa watu kwani hao ni paka na panya (Why are you evicting people as though they are cats and rats)?" he was quoted.
In December 2009, Moi was also ready with an answer to accusations of owning huge tracts of land in the Mau.
He dared those taking up the Mau issue to carry on and see how far they would go.
The eviction process ran into political headwinds and was hushed up, with Raila becoming the immediate enemy of the people of Rift Valley.
It is approximately 10 years today, since the last eviction exercise, and the drama keeps unfolding, as Rift Valley leaders fight for their people's rights, asking them to defy the government and remain in the forest.
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