Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga condoling the family of former Transport and Licensing Board (TLB) chairman the late Hassan Ole Kamwaro during his burial in Narok Saturday. Photo courtesy of KNA

Politicians and government officials have vowed to ensure that Mau water tower is restored.

Speaking during the burial of former Transport and Licensing Board (TLB) chairman Hassan Ole Kamwaro burial held in Oloropil in Narok North Sub County, the politicians led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that they would be backing the government in evicting those who have encroached on Mau forest.

Raila said there was need to find an urgent solution to the degraded Maasai Mau forest in order to save lives in Kenya and beyond and the famous Maasai Mara game reserve which is known worldwide for its spectacular wildebeest migration.

Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko who was present reiterated his earlier stance that there was no going back on restoration of the Maasai Mau forest.

According to the CS, restoration of Mau was a government decision and neither was it targeting any community nor perpetuated by anyone.

“The reason why Mau must be protected is very clear. It’s a lifeline for millions of people all the way up to the River Nile,” he added.

He said that the government was planning to plant two billion trees in the country by 2022 in a quest to protect all water towers in Kenya.

Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya urged the people to move out of Mau on their own before the 60 day notice expired.

He asked the Maasai community to lead by example and hand over the title deeds for the land they owned in Mau. Politicians on the other hand were asked to stop politicizing the matter as it was already decided.

“People in Mau have until the end of the 60 days to leave the Mau after that you will be forced out. We want to plant 10 million trees in Mau beginning in November,” Natembeya said.

Siaya Senator James Orengo said that leaders should join hands in ensuring Mau was restored, adding that it was the government policy to conservation of the environment.

“As a lawyer, I will join lawyers when called upon to defend Mau. I will personally deal with probonos handed by anyone against Mau eviction,” he added.

The late TLB Chairman Ole Kamwaro also had immense passion for the environmental conservation and was an ardent supporter of the Mau restoration initiative. In his home in Ewir Emayian, he had established an ongoing 6, 000 tree nursery farm to affirm his great contribution to boost the forest cover in Narok County.

He died last month while undergoing treatment for cancer of the throat in USA at the age of 71.

The second phase of the water towers restoration is estimated to affect over 10, 000 households including school going children.

During the first phase of the eviction in July last year, about 7, 700 people were evicted from the forest land which saw over 12, 000 acres of the forest reclaimed. It was centered in Reiya group ranch while the second phase has Nkoben, Ilmotiok and Ololunga on the radar. The others are Enokishomi, Enoosokon, Nkaroni and Sisian.

The eviction attracted political undertones with leaders from the Maa and Kalenjin communities in bitter exchange. The Maa leaders wanted the evictions to go on while the Kalenjin leaders want it stopped terming it illegal and inhuman.

The Mau is the largest water tower in the country supporting millions of human life and wildlife in Kenya and beyond.

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