MPs raise concerns over state plans to excise Mt Elgon Forest land
SEE ALSO :Fruits as part of landscapeLast year, there was a fresh outbreak of land-related violence, prompting Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to declare a curfew in the area. Unique scheme Karoney told the MPs that the settlement scheme was unique, cautioning that if the process was not expedited, it would further complicate the land problems in the area. “At least 17 environmental impact assessments will be done and presented to this committee. We have looked at all the possible scenarios in Mt Elgon and believe this is the right thing to do,” she said. But committee members warned that it was counter-productive for the State to settle people on forest land, while at the same time claiming to be conserving the environment.
SEE ALSO :DPP loses bid to eject NLC boss Swazuri“The same government is planning to resettle people in Mt Elgon, while evicting others from the Mau forest. It doesn’t make sense. Several communities will soon demand excision of forests,” said National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali. MPs Joshua Kutuny (Cherangani) and Hassan Odha (Isiolo North) warned that the plan would generate political undercurrents. But speaking to The Standard yesterday, Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi criticised his colleagues who opposed the de-gazzetment, claiming the plan had the support of area leaders and the community. “The Chepyuk Settlement scheme that is supposed to be de-gazzeted was created in 1971. What the State is planning to do is only validating the settlement. No trees are being felled or forest being hived off,” said Mr Kapondi.