The Ogiek Indigenous Community has urged the National Land Commission (NLC) to fasttrack their compensation and resettlement programme in the Mau Forest.
Members of the community are also seeking compensation to the tune of KSh157.85 million over alleged moral damage and eviction.
The Community presented their claim before the seven-member Historical Land Injustices (HLI) panel made up of NLC commissioners.
The panel is led by Commissioner Prof. James Tuitoek. Other members of the panel are Commissioners Hon. Tiyah Galgalo, Hubbie Hussein, Hon. Esther Murugi, Director & Head of Historical Land Injustices Secretariat Mercy Njamwea and Deputy Director Land Rights Samuel Odari.
Led by Ogiek People Development Programme Executive Director, Daniel Kobei, the community claims ownership of the Mau Forest as their ancestral home. They claim to have communal property right over the forest and as a result are entitled to full reparations for alleged violations suffered.
A member of the community, Mzee Joel Soi, broke down while supporting the community’s claims, which he said have traumatized them for decades.
The community, which is represented by several clans, appeared before the panel for two consecutive days. They are asking the NLC to use its constitutional powers to restore the Ogiek ancestral land, compensation for damages suffered, adoption of legislative and other measures to safeguard their rights, issuance of apology to the Ogiek community and erection of a public monument acknowledging the violation of Ogiek rights and full recognition of the Ogiek as indigenous people of Kenya.
Commissioner Tuitoek while closing the five-day hearing directed that they submit names of all the Ogiek community clans and members by January to facilitate the Commission in making a determination. He assured them that the commission is impartial and that justice will be served.