Team to sort out Mau settlers for compensation

Wednesday May 5 2010

By LUCAS BARASA

Big Mau landowners who deserve compensation will be known starting next week.

The chairman of the Interim Coordinating Secretariat, Mr Noor Hassan Noor, said that his team would further determine the number of those who live on the forest’s boundaries and verify their title deeds.

Mr Noor’s team is coordinating the rehabilitation of the 400,000-hectare Mau Forest Complex. “We will determine who is genuinely in Mau, who has been conned and who deserves compensation,” Mr Noor said.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was the chief guest during the Second Strategic Partners Consultative Forum on the Rehabilitation of the Mau Forest Ecosystem, said the bulk of the activities were going on behind the scenes “as we work to identify bona fide allotees of land under the 2001 excisions.”

Of the 125,000 hectares of forest land destroyed in the Mau, more than 60,000 hectares were excised in 2001. Mr Odinga said the government was currently confirming the legality of title deeds and that the Ogiek council of elders had been established to address their interests as indigenous forest dwellers.

Donors were urged to support the restoration of the country’s ecosystem through the Kenya Water Towers Conservation Trust, which the PM said, was meant to pool resources. Billions of shillings are required to restore the water tower.

Forestry minister Noah Wekesa said the government should not compensate people who used impunity to get into Mau. Environment minister John Michuki urged donors to “adopt” part of Mau.