NAIROBI, August 5 – The Ogiek community living in the Mau complex finally agreed to move out of the forest in the ongoing effort by the government to protect it from further destruction.
The community had in the past resisted eviction from the forest.
They argued that they were hunters and gatherers and did not pose any environmental threat to the forest.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga Monday said this was agreed upon when he met members of the community in his Treasury office.
“These people know and they have all agreed that the forest should remain the forest and people should live outside the forest. That is the resolution and is not in dispute,” informed the Premier.
“In this process there will be some people who will be relocated and of course some will resettle wherever they came from and they are already on notice.”
A representative of the Ogiek Community, Charles Sena said they supported the humanitarian approach of the eviction process and the need to conserve the complex, which is the largest of the five water towers in the country.
“The question is why only in the early1990 did people start moving in very fast and made that forest a place for doing transactions where individuals got land and sold it,” he insisted.
He suggested that those who sold the land should be the ones to cater for the compensation rather than the government.
“It is high time they pay back for it because that forest is for all the Kenyans and even beyond.”
The forest has been under serious threat of destruction with about 100, 000 hectares out of the 400,000 it covers already depleted through encroachment and illegal allocation.
The premier mid last month set up a 21 member task force to formulate concrete actions of restoring the forest by December.