RESTORING WATER TOWER

Lobby groups call for faster Mau Forest evictions

'The water tower supports millions of livelihoods nationally, regionally and internationally. It must be salvaged at all costs'

In Summary
  • Green Spaces, Penda Panda, The Green Belt Movement, East Africa Wildlife Society, Kenya Forest Working, Heart of Greens, Climate Justice Alliance and International Tree Foundation urge CS Tobiko not to relent in mission to push squatters out of water tower
A Kenya Forest Service officer in the Maasai Mau Forest in Kosian, Narok South constituency
INVADED: A Kenya Forest Service officer in the Maasai Mau Forest in Kosian, Narok South constituency
Image: KIPLAGATA KIRUI

 

Eight lobby groups are pushing for faster eviction of settlers in the Mau Forest complex amid claims of human rights violations.

The government is carrying out evictions in Narok South and North targeting 60,000 people in a bid to reclaim 17,000 acres of the forest.

The nine environmental conservation groups convened a press conference in Nairobi where they demanded faster eviction of the settlers.

The groups said encroachment of the forest should never be tolerated and all measures should be used to kick out the squatters.

“The water tower supports millions of livelihoods nationally, regionally and internationally. It must be salvaged at all costs,” Wambui Muthiga said.

Muthiga is the chairperson of the Joint Environmental Conversation Groups.

Green Spaces, Penda Panda, The Green Belt Movement, East Africa Wildlife Society, Kenya Forest Working, Heart of Greens, Climate Justice Alliance and International Tree Foundation environmental conservation groups said they were willing to support the government in tree planting to reclaim the forest once the evictions are concluded.

The groups supported Environment CS Keriako Tobiko for leading the operation and urged for continued encouragement for the team to accomplish the mission.

“The CS and his team need to be supported by all concerned parties. We fully support him and ask those fighting the process to think otherwise,” Muthiga said.

She said the water tower is key for the survival of the regional ecosystem hence the need for its preservation. The group said it was mobilising resources to support the conservation of other forests.

The lobby groups call came after Kenyans living in the United Kingdom demanded that the forest be reclaimed.

Their chairperson Kivindyo Ndivo condemned political leaders opposed to the evictions and urged the state not to relent.

“We condemn those who are frustrating the eviction exercise and we urge our leaders to think about the future generations by restoring Mau Forest,” Ndivo said.

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyotclaimed the squatters were being harassed by Kenya Forest Service officers in Sierra Leone, one of the invaded areas of the forest.

The senator claimed houses were being set ablaze, animals slaughtered by officers whom he also accused of inhumane acts like “urinating” on food.

“They kicked out media and KNHRC officials out of the area. Women are being raped, homes burnt, goats slaughtered and unga urinated on,” the senator said.