Government's tough warning as illegal loggers invade Mau Forest

A cleared section at Kiptunga Forest in the Mau Forest complex on September 26,2022. [Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

Outgoing Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mohammed Maalim has raised an alarm over emerging cases of illegal logging in the Mau Forest.

While warning those involved that they would face the full wrath of the law, Mr Maalim termed the forest as one of the critical water towers in the country.

This came as the administrator -- who has since been recalled to the Office of the President in the recently announced reshuffle of the National Government Administration Officer (NGAO) -- launched a tree planting exercise in Naivasha with a directive to chiefs to ensure at least 3,000 seedlings are planted in their regions every month.

Mr Maalim said in an effort to protect the current forest cover in the region, some changes had been made at the Kenya Forest Service.

He said some suspects had been arrested while ferrying logs from Mau forest, adding that security officers were on high alert.

"We have recorded some cases of illegal logging in the Mau and we are working to address this. At the same time, the forest conservator has made some changes," he said.

Mr Maalim said he had formed a regional coordination committee to assist in the tree planting exercise, while challenging other government agencies to chip in.

"The biggest threats we have are the herders who are grazing their livestock by the roadside, thus destroying all the seedlings, and we shall deal with them," he said.

On security, the commissioner noted that the operation order issued a couple of weeks back had worked, with cases of cattle rustling in the North Rift coming to an end.

"I want to praise the security officers for a job well done in providing security during the festive season as we recorded peace in the region," he said.

The CEC for Lands in Nakuru, John Kihagi, noted that land disputes in parts of the county had adversely affected the tree planting exercise.

He asked the national government to help resolve the disputes, especially in Mai Mahiu, Ndabibi, Molo and Njoro.

Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja called on the government to use inmates, army and students to plant more trees.