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Residents want Maasai Mau forest protected

People living next to the Mau forest have asked the current administration to continue protecting the Maasai Mau forest from any form of encroachment.

The residents who spoke to the Kenya News Agency at the Ilmotiok area, near the forest border said they have enjoyed a continuous flow of rivers since people were evicted from the forest land.

Josphat Ngeno, whose land borders the forest, observed that if people are allowed to enter the mega water catchment land, they will destroy a big portion of the forest land.

“If people are given a chance to get into the forest land, they will do a lot of damage which could take many decades to recover. The best way to protect this forest is keeping it free from any human activity,” he said.

He noted that though the Shamba System was a good idea, it was not ideal at the Maasai Mau forest as the forest was gradually regenerating after the government evicted people from the land.

“Why should we take a risk that we ourselves know will damage us in the future? Personally, I do not agree with the shamba system practice at the Maasai Mau forest,” he said.

Simon Sironet said the best way to utilize the forest to get food is by putting up bee hives and allowing only registered people to get into the forest to harvest the honey.

“Let the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the county wardens continue to protect the forest as they have always done because if we allow a few people to enter to farm as they plant trees, they will do more harm than good,” he said.

Another resident William Towet lauded the government for evicting people from the forest land saying though they opposed the idea initially, it has proved to be the best in conserving the environment.

He confessed that he witnessed people suffering from strokes and eventually dying because of the shock of being evicted from the forest, reiterating that they would not want a re-occurrence of the same.

“Many people became insane, others died after they were evicted from the forest land. We do not want a situation where people could be allowed in the forest land and after some years they be evicted again,” he said.

In a bid to protect the forest from human encroachment, the government erected a 30-kilometer electrical fence and employed 30 scouts to man the area.

By Ann Salaton

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