Ever since Prime Minister Raila Odinga first spoke of the need to reclaim the all-important Mau complex, there has been nothing but empty loud-mouthed politics surrounding this issue.
First was a ‘consultative’ meeting with leaders from the surrounding communities at KICC. We all saw how William Ole Ntimama got worked up, accusing his ODM parliamentary colleagues of selfishness over an issue that was threatening the livelihood of the Narok pastoralist communities.
Come that weekend and the North Rift leaders retreated to their tribal cocoons where they vowed that ‘our people’ shall not be evicted from Mau unless an agreeable mode of compensation is placed on the table.
Since then, debate on this issue has been heading south. There are fat cats who benefited from illegal allocations of land in the expansive Mau forest who later subdivided and sold perimeter pieces to peasants. These are the ones who are inciting people against any sort of relocation from the forest.
As Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai has said time and again, the problem in Mau stems from the fact that wealthy people are using peasant farmers as protective shields on their large tracts of land deep within the catchment areas.
These people are intelligent. Therefore, they know full well that their encroachment on the forest is causing devastating effects on Kenya’s environment. When they visit lodges near Lakes Nakuru, Naivasha, Bogoria, Elementaita and elsewhere, they can see the impact of receding water levels. In short, these ‘thieves’ who own large swathes of land in the Mau complex and other water towers know what they are doing to this country. They are killing it and its people.
But their conscience does not flinch when they resist attempts at reclamation and reforestation. What, pray tell, shall we do with these murderers? Are we going to wait for the day Raila Odinga tables a task force report before them for discussion? Are we going to wait until we sip the last drop of water in order to point direct fingers at them? Or are we going to continue celebrating them for their gallant defense of ‘our’ communities (at the expense of the community itself) and clap whenever they appear before us?
Dear Kenyans, it is time for us mortals to stand up for our rights. Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement is launching ‘Enough is Enough’ as a rallying call for Kenyans to defend their ecosystem.
I am a member of this campaign. Will you join me?