Politically Incorrect Using Mau
Forest as a cover
Due to the crooked nature of and vested interests by the major
protagonists involved, the real issues surrounding the Mau Forest
saga increasingly sound like yesterday news.
It is no longer about saving a precious ecosystem. It is hardly
the matter of a scary future of vital water catchments and
life-sustaining river sources drying up due to wanton rape of the
environment by mankind. Rather, it has now become a subject of
grandstanding and sabre-rattling. It is back to the familiar
scaremongering and ‘us versus them’ language that invariably
clouds life-and-death issues.
The subterranean emotions involved are heating up to dangerous
levels. A Cabinet minister has no qualms recalling, with apparent
valour, how "my people finished 600" people over the same forest
scores of years ago. Whether that is legally admissible evidence
of culpability for murder and related crime is a valid point
especially considering the subject has previously been
authoritatively cited for the same crimes.
But even if his ‘confession’ were the recklessness of an incensed
tongue, is the preservation of a prime forest worthy spilling
human blood for? True, the depletion of the Mau has raised
concerns of catastrophic consequences all the way to Rwanda and
for good reasons. But can Heritage minister William ole Ntimama
swear on the graves of the 600 lives lost in the early 90s over
the forest that their fate was fully and only occasioned by
The answer is no and he knows it. The Mau has been turned into a
smokescreen for political schemes tinged with ethnic jingoism. It
is a theatre for protecting otherwise questionably acquired
property. It has been sadly reduced to an attractive refrain for
tribal war cries and a reason to rally community troops to selfish
So Ntimama vows that his community will not tolerate any more
destruction of the forest. But why his community? Wouldn’t his
words carry more weight and relevance if uttered in his capacity
as minister in charge of National Heritage?
Isn’t the preservation of forests and other national natural
assets what his docket is all about? Does he mean to say his
community is (or will) suffer disproportionately from the
continued pillage of the forest?
Before engaging the nation in a sickening fulmination of how their
communities will resist "government marginalisation and
victimisation" blah, blah, why can’t Franklin Bett, Zachayo
Cheruiyot et al have the moral courage to confess private
interests in the Mau?
Wouldn’t their resistance to planned evictions carry more weight
were they gentlemanly enough to admit owning vast personal
interests in the forest?
And if, as they claim, the forest’s excisions that resulted in the
settlement now facing evictions were a legitimate Government
project to settle the landless, could they kindly explain under
what circumstances a State House Comptroller and a powerful
Internal Security PS ended up grabbing huge chunks of the
set-aside land? Were they genuine squatters? How did
well-connected societies end up owning acres of lush tea farms on
what should have been land for the poor of the poor?
Grabbers are, in plain language, thieves. They must be treated as
such and that ideally should rule out compensation. In fact, to
set an example, the State should force illegal beneficiaries of
the Mau to demolish their palatial houses at their own expense and
to dispose of the resultant debris far away from the forest and in
certified environment-friendly ways.