Mau evictions likely to cost Ruto presidency come 2022
5 days ago, 14:36
- Mau forest evictions have since Monday, July 2, seen hundreds of squatters displaced
- The Mau forest is now thought to be a political bait politicians use to get the squatter vote
- Squatters have been setting homesteads in the forest shortly before elections and are evicted after elections
- Mau evictions are being conducted by Kenya Wildlife Service, Narok County government, Rangers, Administrative and Regular Police
- They are aimed to save the 40,000 hectares of land from continued degradation and exploitation
The latest eviction exercise targeting squatters settling is Mau forest has thrown in to question whether the resource is being used by the political class to gain mileage ahead of electioneering periods.
It is emerging that shortly before elections are held in the country, the squatters are welcomed to stay in the forest but months after casting the ballot, state apparatus are quickly activated to bundled them out.
At the forefront of championing for the rights of the squatters had always been now Deputy President William Ruto who served as Cabinet Secretary for Food Security in 2008 during the Mwai Kibaki, Raila Odinga coalition government.
However, on Sunday, June 24, while in Narok County, DP Ruto surprised the nation when he pronounced fresh orders to have all illegal settlers in the Mau evicted.
This left tongues wagging considering the fact that Ruto was once an avid protector of the squatters to an extent that he ended up parting ways with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who in July 2008 gave a not for evictions from the Mau.
History has it that in 2005, during Kibaki’s reign, the same evictions happened but as the country approached the 2007 elections, the settlers were back in the Mau and had even encroached deeper.
The DPs directives which he stated are geared towards conserving the 40,000 hectares water catchment area were put into effect on Monday, July 2 and have since seen at least 600 households displaced.
The 2008 eviction orders issued by a Raila led committee, latter in 2013 denied the former PM thousands of votes from the Mau region whilst giving a wider berth to Ruto who had ditched ODM to run alongside Uhuru Kenyatta as deputy president.
Only time will tell whether the DP will shift his ground and allow for the return of the embattled squatters in the Mau shortly ahead of 2022 general polls and latter evict them shortly after elections.
Time will also tell on whether the Ruto eviction will cost him his 2022 presidential bid as it is though to have happened to ODM’s Raila.
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