Residents of Marmanet in Laikipia County have protested a notice to evict them from their settlements terming the move as an inhuman act that is oppressive to law-abiding citizens.
The residents who reacted to a statement made on Wednesday, this week by the Kenya Forest Service chairperson Peter Kinyua about the planned eviction early next year, noted that they had all the documents to prove their rightful ownership and termed the move to evict them as political.
They said that the allotment letters and the title deeds that proved they are rightful owners, were issued by Government officers who were then supposed to have realized the area was a forest before they settled there.
Led by their chairperson John Barno the residents warned Laikipia County Governor Nderitu Muriithi who has been on the forefront in the fight against encroachment of wetland areas claiming that they followed due process before they were settled.
“It is so disheartening to receive information that we are going to be evicted from our land, we warn leaders not to bring the Mau forest issue in Laikipia, we have co-existed in harmony, we won’t allow politics to separate us,” noted Mr Barno.
On Wednesday when he presided over the planting of 10,000 tree seedlings, the KFS chairperson, Mr. Kinyua, noted that with support from the County Government they would evict the settlers who have encroached the forest.
On his part Laikipia County governor said that they would not relent on reclamation of the forest noting that the County was in full support of the KFS.
Earlier this year, the Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary (CS) while on a courtesy call to the area Governor reiterated the need for conservation of the natural resources for the benefit of posterity.
The CS who made an aerial and ground tour of the Marmanet forest warned those who had illegally settled on forestland, and gave them notice that their time was up.
He decried wanton destruction of water catchment areas noting that the Government’s idea was to improve management of wetland in a sustainable manner to enable all communities benefit from the wetlands.
By David Njoroge