Acting Narok County Commissioner Mr. Mutuku Mwenga and the county security team has banned any barazas in the Maasai Mau where the second phase of evictions is set to take place soon.
Speaking to the press Tuesday after chairing a security meeting, Mwenga said this was to ensure that politicians and other people don’t move to the area to incite the illegal settlers who are moving out, adding that only the administration and the security personnel will be holding barazas in the area to urge the people to move out.
Mwenga said so far 2,200 households have partially moved out of the area, following an eviction notice that was given several weeks ago and urge others who are still in the area to move out before the 60 days’ notice expires.
“By partially I mean some of them have left their houses and other belongings behind and I advise everyone who would like to go back and pick their belongings to inform the area chief who will in turn provide them with a security escort,” he said.
The Ag. County commissioner emphasized that the deadline given due to the families with school children is fast approaching and these families will have to relocate before then, with less than 40 days remaining.
Mwenga also encouraged the residents who had already moved out to come back and inform the administration of how they acquired the land and present any document regarding the land they were holding.
Security in the area has been beefed up with patrol being enhanced and barriers placed in the area to prevent any forest produce from Mau and continuous de-forestation. According to the county commissioner the eviction will be given a human face to allow the process to go on smoothly and peacefully.
Mwenga said re-forestation will continue in the wetlands and the areas where the first phase of eviction took place, adding that the government already has seedlings they plan to plant before the rainy season begins.
“We will also not allow people to acquire new parcels of land in the Mau and ploughing them with oxens, nor will we allow any animals to enter the forest and destroy vegetation that has already been planted,” he said.
The administrator also added that the few who have requested help in moving their belongings will be given transportation by the security trucks up to outside the Mau forest area.
The second phase of the water towers restoration is estimated to affect over 10,000 households including an alleged 8,000 school going children and over 1,000 candidates set to sit their national exams this year and it’s for this reason that a 60-day notice was given to the settlers.
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 eviction attracted political undertones with leaders from the Maa and Kalenjin communities engaging in bitter exchange. The Maa leaders wanted the evictions to go on while the Kalenjin leaders want it stopped terming it illegal and inhuman.
The Mau is the largest water tower in the country supporting millions of human life and wildlife in Kenya and beyond.
By Mabel Keya-Shikuku and Joseph Kariuki