Over 1,500 squatters who were settled on forest land in Mautuma central scheme in Lugari Sub County have strongly objected to the proposal to include victims of the 1992 tribal clashes on the list of beneficiaries to be settled in the area.
The clash victims through their group “1992 squatters SACCO” have filed a case in a Kisumu high court petitioning the government to have them settled in the area.
However, according to the squatters led by their spokes persons Moses Wanjala Marumbu and Richard Sisa, Mautuma central forest land was allocated to close to 3,000 squatters who were working for East African Tanning cooperation company but not clash victims.
They said after suffering for long following the company’s closure of its activities and abandoning them landless, the late President Daniel Moi ordered them to be settled on forest land in the Mautuma forest where a total of 9000 hectares of land was to be hived from the forest for their settlement with each squatter expected to get at least five acre. Though only 3,000 hectares from the forest land settled over 1,500 squatters with each getting two acres.
Mr. Marumbu said 1992 clash victims are internally displaced persons who previously owned pieces of land and they should ask the government to help them trace their lands instead of demanding to be settled on forest land as squatters.
“Those are IDPs but not squatters and Mautuma central scheme land was allocated for squatters not IDPs,” said Murumbu.
However the squatters have petitioned the government to fast track processing of title deeds to ensure their legality expressing concern following the delay by the government to process the documents for the last 25 years.
Mr. Sisa said since allocation of farms in 1996 the squatters have lived in perpetual uncertainty and fear of being subjected to a similar fate as Mau forest evictees.
“All we are demanding for now is title deeds for the already settled squatters to assure them legal ownership before we can go ahead and settle the remaining ones,” said Sisa.