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Natembeya warns Mau evictees’ against settling near the forest border

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya has warned politicians against inciting the Mau Forest evictees by buying them land at the forest boundary.

Natembeya who addressed journalists after a meeting with top security officers at Nkoben part of the Maasai Mau Forest Saturday, observed some influential leaders were trying to jeopardize government’s effort by not allowing the evictees return to their original homes.

The vocal Regional Commissioner who also led the evictions from the forest in the first phase in 2018 when he was Narok County Commissioner wondered why the e sympathizers of the evictees had to buy them land that was just close to the cut line yet there was enough land elsewhere.

“We will not allow the evictees to settle less than ten kilometers from the forest cutline so as to desist from temptations of going back to the forest land,” said Natembeya.

However, he said that in exception cases, individuals will be allowed to buy at least five acres near the forest cutline but not where many families are to be settled.

At the same time, Natembeya lauded the operation officers for successfully completing phase two voluntary exercise successfully and in a humane manner.

“The exercise was carried out very successfully without major incidences reported despite threats from a section of leaders to derail the mission,” he continued.

He revealed that other forests on target for a similar exercise include Marmanet, Embobut and Kaptagat forest.

“We are in a mission of regaining the lost forest land hence we will not relent until all settled forest land is fully recovered,” he said.

He called on the public to take advantage of the ongoing rains to attain the ten per cent required forest cover.

His calls comes a month after a successful phase two voluntary eviction of close to 60,000 families from the Maasai Mau Forest and subsequent reforestation launch of 10 million seeds and seedlings.

A new aerial seedling spray technology was used on 3,000 hectares where 13 species weighing 1980 Kilograms were sprayed.

The first phase of the evictions was completed last year and had successfully reclaimed 4,500 hectares stretching from Nkoben to Kosia parts that were largely encroached.

By Ann Salaton


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