The Government is preparing to evict up to 60,000 people who have encroached on parts of the Mau Forest complex.
Despite pleas from residents and leaders that the eviction be called off, the Government is determined to carry out the painful exercise.
Only last week, Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko vowed that “Mau Forest must be restored and it is not negotiable”.
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya confirmed that security personnel had been deployed in the region, ready to carry out the evictions.
Reading the signs of the time, some of the panicked residents have been hastily packing and leaving the area.
There is no doubt that Mau Forest needs saving. The ongoing destruction of the important water tower spells doom for the country, especially in the face of the unfolding climate change. In fact, the impacts of the destruction of the forest have already started to be felt, with rivers reported to be drying up.
This should not be allowed to continue. We must undo our misdeeds. It is important that people leave the catchment area.
However, the evictions must be conducted with caution. They must be done in a humane way. Sixty thousand is a huge number. Throwing these people out into the cold will obviously spark off a major humanitarian crisis.
That should not happen especially considering that these people have title deeds—real documents issued by the Kenyan Government. They are victims of our corrupt system. The Government should save the forest, but it should also save these people from avoidable misery. Just do something.