Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ogieks: Name Mau grabbers

An Ogiek settlement. The Ogiek community wants the government to make public the list of all beneficiaries of land within the Mau Complex even as it steps up efforts to evict settlers. PHOTO/FILE

An Ogiek settlement. The Ogiek community wants the government to make public the list of all beneficiaries of land within the Mau Complex even as it steps up efforts to evict settlers. PHOTO/FILE 

By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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The Ogiek community wants the government to make public the list of all beneficiaries of land within the Mau Complex even as it steps up efforts to evict settlers.

The Kenya Forest Service has carried out massive evictions from various government forests including Mau Complex and Embobut forests in Rift Valley region.

The evictions are seen as a deliberate move to conserve the crucial water tower which support millions of livelihoods and wildlife in the country and beyond.

But speaking to the Daily Nation in Nakuru Town yesterday, the chairman of the Ogiek Council of Elders, Mr Joseph Towett urged the government to be transparent and publish the names of the beneficiaries of the government forests in the local media.

INFLUENTIAL PERSONS
“Squatters in the government forests are well known but the real plunderers of the same forests and who have benefited more than the squatters have remained mysterious,” said Mr Towett.

He said that the government has been pushing for the profiling of all members of the Ogiek community living in Mau Complex but was silent on those who were given the land in the same forest by the past governments.

“Even some of the members of the Ogiek communities are not aware whether they are in the list of squatters and would also like their names to be made public to clear any doubts as to whether they are genuine squatters,” said Mr Towett.

Some of the influential politicians and senior civil servants and prominent personalities during the Kanu regime were allocated huge chunks of land in the Mau Complex.

“The Jubilee government rides on the slogan of Kusema na Kutenda (saying and doing) and it should clear the air by also making public those who benefited from the government forests,” said Mr Towett.

He claimed that the restoration of the Mau Complex has slowed down as many of the non -governmental organisations have fizzled out.

“More than Sh540million has been pumped into Mau Complex by local and international donors but nothing is visible on the ground to show that their efforts are bearing fruits,” said Mr Towett.

CHRONOLOGY

How complex was degraded

Genesis: Alarm bells started ringing when rivers and streams emanating from Mau begun to dry up
Assessment: Problem traced to heavy deforestation within complex by squatters and officials of the Kanu regime.
Intervention: Government ordered thousands of squatters out of the Mau Complex
Conservation: Government supported by international and local organisations embarked on conservation of Mau Complex.

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