Mau evictees decry poor living conditions

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officers at Maasai Mau forest which has witnessed wanton destruction. Photo File

By Ben Leshau

After being kicked out of the Maasai Mau forest by the government in November 2019,over 1,500 families who settled at Saptet camp are now living in squalid conditions.

They have expressed that since they were evicted they have been unable to provide basic needs to their families who now face hunger and starvation.

Poverty levels have since risen with the families facing a myriad of challenges including outbreak of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera due to crowding.

John Lang’at, evictees’ representative decried neglect by the
government after evicting them from what he referred to as their‘home’.

“We are living dog’s life in this camp.The government that we voted inevicted us and left us wandering helplessly.We are living like refugees in our own country.We have no food,no medication,no water.It is hell,”lamented Mr Lang’at.

He said they have lost many children and the elderly to
pneumonia-related compilations due to poor shelters appealing that the government should provide them with alternative settlement.

“We have nowhere we can call home.It is sad that we are now IDPs yet we bought land only for the government to term the title deeds they gave us as ‘mere papers’.As Kenyan citizens we have a right to be resettled like other squatters in the country,”he added.

The evictees had a temporary reprieve after they received food stuff from Rift valley students association at the Moi University .

According to Felix Kumoi who is a student leader at Moi University over 20 students who hail from the Mau complex were affected after the evictions that were conducted in 2019.
“The eviction that happened in 2019 adversely affected the lives of over 20 students who were studying at our campus.They suffered emotional trauma and were unable to raise school fees. We were touched,” said Mr Kumoi.

He called on the government to at least support the communities who were affected following the conservation efforts by the national government.

Brian Koech a third year student at Moi university expressed that their parents have been struggling to provide school fees for their children.

“When we were kicked out of the place I had called home since I was born,I was distraught. We did not know where to go. My parents used to do farming to educate us.We had to stay home due to lack of school fees,”narrated teary Koech.

He urged well-wishers to support the students achieve their dreams calling on other institutions of higher learning to also support their students.

Ololunga ward MCA Jefferson Lang’at has since urged the National government to assist the families who were evicted and pitched camp at Saptet, Olmekenyu,Ngoben and Chebitet camps.

The Ward Rep has however urged the Kenya red cross to move to the region and supply relief food to the families who are currently facing starvation.

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