By Ben Leshau
Maasai Mau forest restoration efforts hit climax as the government set to kick off the fencing around the forest in two weeks’ time.
The over 44,000-hectare forest that was reclaimed in 2019 after over 35,000 illegal settlers were evicted from the forest will be fenced in two phases with the first one covering over 30Kilometers.
According to area Deputy County Commissioner Felix Kisalu,the multi-million project being undertaken by the Kenya Water Towers Agency(KWTA)will seal the fate of the evictees who were still hoping to return to the forest.
“Plans to fence the forest started last year where government surveyors marked the boundaries and now all is set.We have the first batch of posts delivered and the National Construction Authority(NCA0 has approved the required standard of fencing,”said Mr Kisalu.
The administrator reiterated that the fencing will deter the community living around the forest from illegally grazing their livestock in the forest to allow regeneration.
He added that the fence will also prevent illegal logging and poaching of wildlife in the reclaimed forest saying that the fencing will also eradicate conflicts between the community and the security aganecies manning the forest.
Apart from the fencing the commissioner revealed that the government will also initiate community-driven projects such as planting tea and avocado trees around the forest to benefit the locals economically.
“We have community projects such as water piping where the KWTA will ensure that the water points that are in the forest are identified and water piped to the community to prevent them from entering the now protected forest,”he said.
The commissioner also revealed that there were some land cartels who have been lying to the Mau evictees that they shall return to their previous land in the forest saying investigations are ongoing and the culprits will be arrested.
“Our investigations have found that there are some people who sold the government forest to the evictees and are going round giving false hope to them that things will soon subside and they will go back to the forest.These are the criminals we are looking for,”he added.