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30-kilometer Electric fencing of Maasai Mau block on course

The 30-kilometer fencing around Maasai Mau forest block is on course and set to be completed by December this year as planned.

The fencing of the block is being done to save it from encroachment after hundreds of people were evicted from the area in 2018 and 2019.

The process of planting 10 million trees in the forest to rehabilitate is also underway.

The works which kicked-off in January this year will cost the taxpayer Sh73.4 million.

The South Rift Regional Kenya Water Towers Authority (KWTA) Coordinator, Cornel Omondi, said so far 3,900 poles have been erected and concreted.

He was briefing the County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC), during a meeting held at the County Commissioner`s Boardroom.

He said the contractor is using imported pressure treated eucalyptus or wattle posts treated using a chemical known as copper chrome arsenate (tanalith) to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) certification.

The electric fence will be powered by 370 watts solar panels served by long lasting lithium-ion battery assembly and will have three energizer stations at 10kilometer a part.

After fencing, the forest block will be monitored within one kilometer radius and the information communicated through a rugged weatherproof android phone which will be given to officers patrolling the forest.

The weatherproof condition is meant to help the gadget withstand the drenching rain scenario common in Mau Forest.

Omondi said a central control station will also be provided with capability to view Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), which will be installed at key installations (energizers and solar locations).

He said the project has been facing the challenge of transporting materials and equipment due to the rough terrain, hostility from those evicted earlier, illegal grazing and a litigation filed in court by the evictees.

During the first phase of the eviction in Narok in July 2018, about 7,700 people were evicted from the forest land which saw over 12,000 acres of the forest reclaimed.

The second phase of the water tower restoration in Maasai Mau happened voluntarily in September and October 2019.

By Mabel Keya-Shikuku

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