Friday, June 25, 2010

No Mau evictions soon, says team

A settlement within the Mau Forest Complex. The Mau Secretariat has allayed fears of evictions in the coming weeks June 24, 2010. Photo/FILE

A settlement within the Mau Forest Complex. The Mau Secretariat has allayed fears of evictions in the coming weeks June 24, 2010. Photo/FILE 

By LUCAS BARASA

A team coordinating the rehabilitation of the controversial Mau Forest has allayed fears of any evictions in the coming weeks.

It, however, said it was on course in the conservation exercise as the forest boundary demarcation is ongoing.  

“To date, the Secretariat has completed the profiling of the settlers residing inside the Maasai Mau Trust Land Forest and the collected data is being analysed,” a statement from the Hassan Noor-led secretariat said Thursday evening.

“The establishment of the arrangements for compensation is likely to take several months.”  

Rights of affected settlers

The entire process will be undertaken within the law, with regard to the rights of the affected settlers and in accordance with Mau Task Force Report recommendations as approved by the Cabinet and Parliament, it added.   

The statement said the survey of the boundaries of Eburru Forest Reserve has been completed.

It added that it has secured funds for the survey of four forest blocks: Transmara and South Western Mau (USAID) and Maasai Mau (Narok County Council) and Ol Pusimoru (Kenya Forest Service).

The team said the survey of the four forest blocks is progressing well, “although at a slower pace in order to enable the necessary sensitisation of the communities living along the boundaries".

It said the survey of five additional forest blocks in the northern part of the Mau is likely to be funded by the European Union.  

“The government of Kenya remains committed to the process even as the Mau Forest restoration efforts continues to gain both local and international supports,” the team said.

There have been media reports that the Secretariat plans to evict settlers in Mau ahead of the August 4 referendum.

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