Official: Don’t sell or buy land in Mau

A section of the depleted Maasai Mau Forest. Leaders have differed over the fate of the over 40,000 settlers in 'status quo' area. [PHOTO:ROBERT KIPLAGAT]

Anyone trying to sell land in Mau Forest will be arrested and prosecuted, County Commissioner George Natembeya has said.

The commissioner also warned investors against buying land in any other Government forest.

Mr Natembeya said there had been an influx of speculators in Kosia and Nkoben, where more than 10,000 illegal settlers were evicted last year.

He said he had received reports about people purporting to sell land in the forest to unsuspecting buyers despite being aware of the Government’s effort to restore the resource.

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“Conservation of the Mau Forest is a priority to the Government. It is sad that people we evicted in the first phase are deceiving unsuspecting buyers that they are selling land in the same forest. There is no land for sale in Maasai Mau or any other part of Mau,” Natembeya said.

He added: “It is so sad that people are still losing their hard-earned cash to cons in this manner. It should be clear that no one will be allowed to settle in the forest. Those who insist on buying land in the forest will have themselves to blame, as they will lose both the money and the land.”

At least 40,000 people are expected to be kicked out of the forest in the second phase of the evictions this year.

Natembeya said the illegal settlers would be evicted as soon as the Ministry of Environment gave them direction.

He said some of the illegal settlers had started leaving the forest.

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Meanwhile, some local leaders have asked the Director of Public Prosecutions Nordin Haji to order arrest of those who masterminded invasion of the Mau Forest.

“The title deeds have been surrendered and those who sold the land recorded statements with the police. Why hasn’t the DPP ordered arrest and prosecution of the culprits? These people are economic and environmental saboteurs who should face the law,” said Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta.

The MP also called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga to address the Mau evictions.

County CommissionerGeorge NatembeyaGovernment forestDPP