Mau evictions should be done humanely

After months of tension, threats and counter-threats, eviction of illegal Mau Forest settlers finally kicked off last Friday.

The exercise started at Sierra Leone, a centre in the catchment area, where demolition squads pulled down houses as some residents watched in shock while others scrambled to salvage whatever essentials they could from the rubble.

We have stated here several times before that rehabilitation of the now depleted Mau Forest Complex is of paramount importance to Kenya and several other African countries.

The forest is the main water source for 12 main rivers. Five of the rivers end up in Lake Victoria, which is the source of River Nile that is not only an important source of water for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, but also Sudan and Egypt.

SEE ALSO :Rift Valley leaders seek talks over Mau

Due to the denudation of the Mau forest cover, some of these rivers are said to be drying up gradually, and as a result putting thousands of human and animal lives at stake.

At a time that climate change is a global concern, we should use every weapon within our reach to save our water towers. And this includes plucking illegal settlers out of Mau Forest land.

But as we have pointed out for the umpteenth time, this should be done in a humane manner.

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Majority of these people are not criminals, they are victims of complex fraud; they were sold land and even handed title deeds. They need help to keep going even as the State launches investigations to ensure they get justice.

The Government also needs to fulfill its promise and ensure that students from Mau schools who are supposed to write KCPE and KCSE examinations do so with minimal, if any, inconveniences.

SEE ALSO :All set for Mau forest evictions

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