Protests over Mau invasion
By GEORGE SAYAGIE and KENNEDY MASIBO
Wednesday, July 23 2008 at 23:15
- Speculators are trooping to Western Mau and Masaai Mau
- Individuals in the taskforce have competing interests
Sixty councillors on Wednesday called for urgent action to stop
the destruction of Mau Forest.
Led by Narok county council chairman Solomon Moriaso, the civic
leaders said the rape of the water catchment was an ecological
disaster that must be stopped.
They also supported plans to evict farmers from the Mau.
The group claimed that illegal settlers were trooping to the
forest hoping to be resettled alongside genuine squatters.
“If more illegal immigrants are allowed into the catchment area
and those who were settled are not evicted, Tourism at the Masaai
Mara Game Reserve and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania will
collapse in a short period,” said Mr Moriaso at a Press conference
in Molo Town.
The councillors said more than 10 million people in Ololongoi,
Olpusimoru, Olokurto, Ololulunga, Ewaso Nyiro, Mulot, Bomet and
other areas depended directly on the 12 rivers originating from
the Mau Forest and would be adversely affected by the destruction.
Meanwhile, the Ogiek Welfare Council yesterday criticised the
newly-formed taskforce on the Mau, saying it ought to have
included more interest groups.
The coordinator of the lobby group, Mr Kimaiyo Towett, said the
taskforce’s report would have far reaching effects on communities
such as the Ogiek.
The community is already represented in the team picked by Prime
Minister Raila Odinga.
Mr Towett said the various individuals in the taskforce had
competing interests which were bound to affect its mission.
The official also suggested that the names of the beneficiaries be
made public and that genuine squatters be given alternative land.
He said that some parts of the Mau were not water catchment areas
and could be used as farmland.
According to him, the Government should also give those affected
reasonable time to move out.
He agreed with National Heritage minister William ole Ntimama that
speculators were trooping to Western Mau and Masaai Mau following
the Government’s directive that settlers in the forest would be
“We suspect the influx has got to do with the pending eviction so
that there is a huge population to deal with in the affected area,”
Mr Towett said.
The taskforce is expected to give its report before October, by
which time settlers are required to have left the forest.