Group decries wanton destruction of a section of Mau forest

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officers at Maasai Mau forest which has witnessed wanton destruction. Photo Ben Leshau

By Ben Leshau

A Mau conservation group has petitioned Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko over alleged wanton destruction of Sasimuani section of Maasai Mau forest by a group referring themselves as members of the Ogiek community.

The Centre for Mau Forest Conservation and Restoration led by it’s Director Mr Patu Naikumi in a letter dated July 10 this year decried over what he termed as invasion of the forest for charcoal, timber and poles destroying hundreds of acres of the key water tower.

“We are alarmed by the wanton and reckless destruction of the Maasai Mau Forest at Sasimuan.The section of the forest is now depleted as the unscrupulous people who are now leasing it for charcoal burners and timber merchants,” lamented Naikumi.

He claimed that the invasion of the forest came as a result of an Africa Court ruling that favoured the Ogiek Community to settle at the Mau Forest complex and practice their traditional economic activities of hunting and gathering.

“The African Court of Justice vindicated the Ogiek people right to their land and traditional way of life, but there are significant obstacles of continued destruction of the Maasai Mau Forest
destruction that will adequately impede enforcement of the court judgment,” claimed Naikumi.

The conservator also claimed that the Sasimuani has been turned into agro-forestry businesses, charcoal burning and a hub for felling of indigenous trees for timber that has subsequently led to establishment of Agricultural activities in the area.

Mr Naikumi in the letter  also  called on the  Ogiek community to adhere to sustainable forest management practices that support their traditional livelihoods as prescribed by the court.

“Delay for the Ministry of Environment task force to release recommendations and subsequent implementation, will prolong the reckless wanton destructions of the forest at Sasimuani,” he warned.

In view of the foregoing therefore the Centre for Mau Forest Conservation and Restoration found that the African Court ruling is no-longer tenable given that the introduction of Agro-business in Sasimuani.

The move comes barely a week after the government evicted hundreds of families from Eastern part of the Mau forest in neighboring Nakuru County.

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