Regional Commissioner Outlaws grazing in Maasai Mau forest
Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mr. George Natembeya has banned grazing in Maasai Mau forest with immediate effect as the 60-day eviction notice comes to a close in the next few days.
Speaking to the press in Narok town after chairing a multi-sectoral meeting on Mau forest today, Natembeya also banned any movement and human activities in Maasai Mau forest terming it an operation area.
Mr. Natembeya said a major re-forestation exercise in Maasai Mau forest will start on November 1, this year where the Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Mr. Keriako Tobiko will launch the exercise and continue throughout the rainy season.
He said it’s for this reason that grazing and other human activities had to be halted to protect the trees from being damaged.
“We are planning to plant 100,000 tree seedling in Maasai Mau on the day of the launch and over 13million seedlings in the entire Mau with Maasai Mau taking three million seedlings and we will not allow any animals to enter the forest and destroy trees that has already been planted,” he said.
Natembeya said he was happy that so far over 70 per cent of households have moved out of the Maasai Mau completely with part of the remaining 30 per cent having moved partially following an eviction notice that was given in August.
He urged others who are still in the area to follow suit and move out before the 60 days’ notice expires at the end of this month and ruled out the issue of compensation for the evictees.
The Regional Commissioner said some of the evictees had planted crops and were waiting for them to mature but he assured them that they will be allowed back only to harvest their crops when mature.
“Our main concern is the restoration of the Mau and this issue is not negotiable and I call upon all of us to work together in restoring the Maasai Mau,” he said.
The regional commissioner warned those planning to resist the eviction that they will not succeed and will be met with the full force of the law.
“We hear there are people arming themselves in some parts of the forest such as Kipkoben and Kipchoge, let them know we are ready for them,” Natembeya said.
The second phase of the water towers restoration is estimated to affect over 3,360 households including an alleged 8,000 school going children .
The department of education in Narok has confirmed that there are no candidates in Mau since none of the 15 schools earmarked for closure is registered..
During the first phase of the eviction in July last year, about 7,700 people were evicted from the forest land which saw over 12,000 acres of the forest reclaimed. It was centered in Reiya group ranch while the second phase has Nkoben, Ilmotiok and Ololunga on the radar. The others are Enokishomi, Enoosokon, Nkaroni and Sisian.
The Mau is the largest water tower in the country supporting millions of human life and wildlife in Kenya and beyond,
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