Three Maasai leaders have blamed the old Narok County Council for the degradation of the Mau Forest complex.
They are Narok Senator Ledama Kina, Narok North MP Moitalel Kenta and former Nairobi speaker Alex Magelo. They said careless subdivision of land near the forest gave room for encroachment.
Speaking in Nkaretta, Narok North subcounty on Friday, the leaders said the group ranches that got the land sold it to people who later encroached on the forest,under the watch of the former county council.
“Initially, they extended by 42,000 acres.They later added 103,784 acres and now they have encroached on 284,171 acres of the forest land. There were less than 400 title deeds, but now they are in the thousands. We are wondering whether the forest land regenerates,” Kenta said.
He gave the government a 14-day ultimatum to evict those occupying the forest land or the Maasai community will drive their livestock into the forest.
“We ask the government to remove people from the forest without any compensation. In fact, the evictees should be fined for destroying the forest land,” Kenta said.
The MP condemned Kericho governor Paul Chepkwony for filing suit to stop the evictions. He questioned why the governor is “concerning himself with Narok issues”.
“The Maasai Mau Forest is one of the historical injustices the Maasai community has borne for a long time. We don’t want other counties to take our generosity for granted. We too can fight for our rights,” Kenta said.
He challenged Narok Governor Samuel Tunai to publicly declare his stand on the evictions, saying his silence is worrying.
Magelo praised the government for trying to save the forest, saying the evictions will benefit all Kenyans.
“We are wondering what business other communities have in Narok. Why are we seeing leaders from other parts of the country coming to our county to speak on our behalf. We kindly ask them to keep off Narok business,” he said.
Magelo dismissed the forest cut- line narrative, saying every forest encroacher was aware of the boundary.
Ole Kina said the Maasai people are united in saving the mega water catchment area, insisting forest encroachers will not be compensated.
“We have only one formula as the Maasai community — getting people out of forest land,” he said.
The senator said William Ntimama died fighting for the Mau complex. Kina said he will continue fighting for restoration of the forest as Ntimama would have wanted.