At least 600 Embobut forest squatters listed as beneficiaries of Sh1.1 billion that was disbursed by the government have not received their cash to buy alternative land.
They face eviction from the water tower. Some 2,874 people were to benefit from the funds whose disbursement was presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in the forest three months ago. A number of them have not opened bank accounts. Kenya Commercial Bank said the beneficiaries were asked to open accounts to access Sh400, 000 each, but so far 200 people have not yet approached the institution.
It is either the individuals are not aware that they appear on the final list, which was dogged by controversy, or they lack transport from the forest to Kapsowar town, where the bank’s nearest branch is located.
MANY HAVE NOT GONE TO OPEN ACCOUNTS
Elgeyo-Marakwet county commissioner Arthur Osiya, who is in charge of the reclamation of the Embobut water tower, yesterday said the 200 individuals had not visited the bank. “The final and approved list of 2,874 beneficiaries was given out to the public and it was publicized extensively across the area but to our surprise 200 of these people has not visited the bank so that they can use the money to buy alternative land to settle. Mind you they are now facing eviction,” he said.
The county commissioner told the Nation that 400 other beneficiaries had not been paid due to some technical problems. He said they failed to access their money at the bank because of errors regarding their names and national identity card numbers.
At the same time, an Eldoret court has ordered the suspension of the evictions of squatters from Embobut forest. Mr Justice Sila Munyao issued the order after three petitioners moved to court on Saturday saying the evictions contravened the rights of the Embobut forest dwellers.
Earlier, the Sengwer community had moved to court saying the matter should be referred to the National Land Commission, which is tasked with addressing historical land injustices in the country.
Last year, Mr Justice Fred Ochieng ordered the Kenya Forest Service to stop interfering with the petitioners’ occupation of the water tower as there was a pending case in court.
Source daily nation 21/01/2014