Ogiek Community marks 7 years since Arusha Landmark Court ruling with calls on Government to expedite implementation of the ruling

It is 7 years since the Arusha Landmark Court ruling that recognized the rights of the Ogiek Community.
However, the community has decried lack of political goodwill towards implementation of the recommendations of the court.
On Sunday May 26, 2024, the Ogiek community in collaboration with clergy organized a Thanksgiving service at Nessuit Primary School in Njoro Sub county with calls on Government to expedite the implementation of the ruling of the court as far as the indigenous peoples’ rights are concerned.

Speaking during the event, Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program-OPDP Director Daniel Kobei while lauding the importance of the day in looking at the strides made, he noted that the journey towards realization of their rights has not been a walk in the park.
“This is a great day to us as a people.
We gather here on this day to remind ourselves the role we have towards safeguarding our rights,” he stated.
Kobei noted that The Kenya Forest Service, Ministry of Environment should not be an obstacle but should take up the issue of settling the Ogiek Community and other indigenous peoples as per the court ruling.
He was however quick to call out the office of the Attorney General for derailing the process.
According to Kobei, the AG should write to the Ministries concerns to give legal guidelines on how the matter shall be addressed in accordance with the Law.
“We are calling on the Attorney General to expedite the process by writing to the relevant Ministries with guidelines on the issue. The Ministries cannot act on their own without the AG giving directions as the advisory to Government,” he said.
He added that already the Ministry of Lands as well as the Ombudsman have visited the community and made their recommendations in line with the Landmark Court ruling.
Kobei who addressed press while flanked by Church leaders, also urged the church leaders to help through prayers so that the matter can be addressed once and for all.
“Unity of purpose is key even in our journey as a community,” said Kobei.
He revealed that through the Council of Governors, the Ogiek Community is lobbying to have all the 6 governors whose counties border Mau Complex be involved in the whole process.
According to Kobei, this will help them discuss the issue and help push the Ministries involved to take action.
“We are not enjoying seeing Ogiek Community in media every now and then fighting for our rights. We are telling the President, this is the time to act and ensure the Ogiek Peoples’ rights are protected through implementation of the Arusha Landmark Court ruling,” he said.
He reiterated that their role as a community in environment conservation is very clear.
During the event, the congregants planted trees as a commitment of their work on matters forest conservation.
Sentiments echoed by Ogiek Council of Elders Chairperson John Sironga.
The elder said their sole appeal to Kenya Government is to ensure implementation of the Landmark Court ruling.
He noted that even after holding peaceful demonstrations upto to the office of Attorney General, no action has been taken.
Sironga was categorical that despite the many obstacles, the community will not relent in calling out Government.
“We are just demanding for our rights as a community. We will not give up on the same,” he said.
Sarah addressing press.PHOTO/PRISTONE MAMBILI.

Sarah Osasi who represented women of the Ogiek Community said the government has continued to derail the process.

She noted that with such delays, then the community is left behind in terms of development.
“Why is it that when it comes to issues of Ogiek Peoples then the government seems not to care? It is high time we be considered just like the other communities are,” she said.
According to her, women continue to suffer emotionally due to the derailed implementation of the court ruling.
She called on First Lady Rachael Ruto and Second Lady Dorcas Rigathi to visit the women of the Ogiek Community and have a feeling of what they face.
“If the President and Deputy cannot listen to us, then we want Mama Rachael and Mama Dorcas to pass them the message, maybe they will listen,” she said.
The clergy from the Ogiek Community on their part lauded the role played by Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program-OPDP Director Daniel Kobei for the role he has continued to play in ensuring the rights of the community.
They urged the government to play part and ensure the implementation of the Landmark Court ruling as pronounced by the Arusha Court.

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