Mau: Third restoration phase set for next week

Friday April 2 2010

Chief coordinator of the reclamation team Mr Hassan Noor said within the next three weeks, those within the boundaries would have been identified and the compensation kitty determined. Photo/ FILE

Chief coordinator of the reclamation team Mr Hassan Noor said within the next three weeks, those within the boundaries would have been identified and the compensation kitty determined. Photo/ FILE 

By ALPHONCE SHIUNDU

The Mau Forest Complex restoration rolls firmly into the third phase next Friday with the completion of the boundary-marking exercise in Maasai Mau.

The chief coordinator of the reclamation team Mr Hassan Noor said on Friday that within the next three weeks, those within the boundaries would have been identified and the compensation kitty determined.

The announcement comes just a day after the Narok County Council chairman Isaac Partoip surrendered 250 acres to the Mau Coordinating secretariat.

There are 20,000 hectares targeted in the third phase of the reclamation process for the country’s largest water tower, Mr Noor told the Nation.

Within the coming two months, Mr Noor said, all those with a stake in the Maasai Mau will be out of the forest and those who deserve compensation will be given their money.

Mr Noor kept a tight lid the amount of money to compensate the people within the targeted area. “We made a request to Treasury on the amount of money (for the whole exercise); but those figures are not public, they are just working figures. Once those  to be compensated are identified, then I can tell you the actual amount,” he said.

A legal team chaired by the Attorney General Amos Wako, Mr Noor said, will within a fortnight complete the profiling of all the settlers within grabbed section of  the Maasai Mau to determine those to be compensated.

The Mau restoration is now in its seventh month and has been subject to a political wars and community wrangles over the evictions and compensation of the squatters.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, under whose office the mandate falls, has rallied support for the reclamation which has seen 21,000 hectares of grabbed forest land reclaimed.

The Ogiek community which has been hugely affected by the reclamation --due to its hunter-gatherer lifestyle-- has now yielded to government calls and formed a 60-member council to smoothen the process.

In a statement to newsrooms on Friday, the PM’s office said, Mr Joseph Towett was elected as chairman and Mr Daniel Kobei the secretary of the council.

The council will be operational for the next one year within which the government is expected to draw the curtains on the repossession of grabbed forest land in the country’s largest water tower.

Top on the list of the council’s mandate is to draw up an Ogiek register based on family lineages, the development of proposals for resettlement  of the affected people.

Five companies spearheading the process through the 'Save the Mau campaign’ have, to date, already planted 25,000 trees in the Maasai Mau trust land forest near Naisoya in Narok District.

The five are Equity Bank, East African Breweries Ltd, Nation Media Group, Kenya Wildlife Service, and the Green Belt Movement. Together, they have committed Ksh50 million towards forest restoration.