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Reclaim grabbed forest land

Tuesday July 14 2020
By EDITORIAL

Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has just lifted the lid on the illegal excision of Ngong Forest to benefit a few individuals. This is, of course, nothing new as land grabbing has been rampant for years.

Land allocations have always been an emotive issue as the consequences of the blatant impunity have often returned to haunt the beneficiaries.

The problem is the irregular allocations. Where a confirmed public need has necessitated such an allocation, it is perfectly okay.

However, Mr Tobiko, the custodian of this vital national resource, having access to the official records, knows of some wrongdoing and wants to correct it.

He has vowed that the government will not relent in its quest to reclaim illegally allocated land in the forest. It includes 132 acres earmarked for a public facility, a school, but which were grabbed and private residential estates constructed on it. The owners stand to lose their homes and lifetime investments simply because they were the beneficiaries of the endemic rot in the lands department.

We could not agree more with the CS that it is wrong to excise forest land, which is public property, and give it to private individuals at the expense of the public good.

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But while it makes sense to reclaim such land, it is a pity that the officials who perpetrated the illegalities cannot all be tracked down and punished as they no longer hold those positions and some could have died.

The challenge, however, is to ensure this seemingly insatiable greed is not allowed to rear its ugly head ever again.

There is demand for land for housing but that cannot justify the destruction of the few green lungs remaining in the city for the benefit of a few selfish individuals. The regulations on land allocations must be strictly followed.

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