Monday, September 20, 2010

Govt vows sustained bid to reclaim Mau

FILE | NATION. A settlement within the Mau Forest Complex. Forestry and Wildlife Minister Noah Wekesa said one of the efforts being put in place to restore the country's top water tower was to evict settlers in critical catchment areas that are a source of livelihood to millions of Kenyans.

FILE | NATION. A settlement within the Mau Forest Complex. Forestry and Wildlife Minister Noah Wekesa said one of the efforts being put in place to restore the country's top water tower was to evict settlers in critical catchment areas that are a source of livelihood to millions of Kenyans. 

By ELIZABETH WANJIRU

The Government will not relent in its effort to rehabilitate the controversial Mau complex if the country’s ecosystem is to be sustained.

Forestry and Wildlife Minister Noah Wekesa said one of the efforts being put in place to restore the country's top water tower was to evict settlers in critical catchment areas that are a source of livelihood to millions of Kenyans.

He gave an example of Lake Nakuru National Park as among critical areas that relied on the 44,000-hectare Mau complex for its survival, saying the country depended on the park as a leading tourist attraction, raking in millions of shillings annually in foreign exchange.

“If nothing is done to conserve Mau Forest, Kipipiri and other water towers feeding Lake Nakuru would be dead in 50 years, and this is the reason why the eviction of illegal settlers will continue for the benefit of future Kenyans and the environment,” he told participants attending the 6th annual Cycle with Rhino event at Lake Nakuru National Park on Saturday.

He said the destruction of the water towers has contributed to adverse climatic changes such as last year's prolonged drought, challenges that had forced the Government and Kenya Wildlife Service to put in place measures to mitigate them as they contribute to food insecurity,” said Dr Wekesa.

He appealed to the Government to allocate more resources to promote the tourism sector, noting that it was the biggest contributor to the country’s economy after agriculture and thus should be zealously guarded.

Constitution debate
On the new constitution debate, Dr Wekesa called for political tolerance on the implementation of the Supreme law, noting that some issues would take more time before they were implemented.

“Changes brought by the new constitution are not only causing challenges to the provincial administrators but also the MPs who do not know whether to go for senator or governor posts. He said the MPs need to worry more than the PCs and DCs who shall be absorbed in the restructured government offices as per their competencies,” he said

He further cautioned his counterparts that it was too early to declare their political interests in the county leadership and that they ought to give electorates an opportunity to make their independent decisions instead of using financial material to manipulate them.

The function was also attended by KWS Director Julius Kipng’etich who asked Nakuru businesspeople to take advantage of booming tourism activity at Lake Nakuru National Park to boost their businesses in the hotels, lodgings and other related businesses.

“The KWS has taken measures to prevent further accidents caused by human wildlife conflicts along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway by installing a 10-kilometre electric fence along Soysambu ranch,” said Dr Kipng’etich.

He added that KWS was also negotiating with the private conservancy to pave way for an opening of a wildlife migratory route linking Lake Nakuru, Morendat, Marura, and Oljorai and Lake Naivasha to ease population buffaloes at Lake Nakuru Park.

advertisement