96 per cent of settlers out of Maasai Mau, says Tobiko

Environment CS Keriako Tobiko (in white) and other conservation officials address the media during the exercise to plant trees in Maasai Mau Forest today. [Fredrick Obura, Standard]
Nearly 96 per cent of the illegal settlers in Maasai Mau have left the forest following the lapse of the 30-day eviction notice by the State, Cabinet Secretary for Environment Keriako Tobiko has said.

Speaking to the press during a multi-government agency tree planting exercise at Sierra Leone in the Maasai Mau Forest, the CS said that those remaining are on their way out.

Tobiko hailed the eviction process saying that authority did not use force on the evictees contrary to what some politicians opined.

“The settlers left voluntarily. The exercise was done in a humane and judicious manner and we expect by the end of today to recover the whole of Maasai Mau water tower, all this has been done without firing a bullet, clobbering anyone or even burning houses,” Tobiko said.

SEE ALSO :Plant 50 million trees to honour the GOATs, Tobiko tells Kenyans

A section of politicians from the Rift Valley were against the eviction on the ground that it was not guided by sound policy.

Tobiko added that they have provided transport for evictees.

At the same tree planting event, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya warned politicians against incitement.

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He said that any politician implicated will be dealt with as an individual.

"We will be monitoring those evicted, any attempt to return will be meet with the full force of the law," he said

SEE ALSO :Ruto’s plea over Mau deadline

Conservation

According to Tobiko, evicting the settlers was the easier part and reclaiming the forest was the uphill battle.

The ministry of environment kicked off the ten million tree planting initiative in Mau forest as part of its effort to restore the vital water tower.

“We have embarked on a major restoration program where we expect to plant 300,000 tree seedlings manually and aerial seeding of an area covering 3,500 hectares today,” said CS Tobiko.

Tobiko said that half of the 46,000 hectares of the Maasai Mau forest had been grabbed and the first eviction face last year saw 11,000 hectares reclaimed.

SEE ALSO :Allow for more consultation on Mau to avert humanitarian crisis

This year’s exercise targets to reclaim another 22000 hectares.

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Keriako TobikoMaasai Mau forestMau Forest evictions