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Fencing of Maasai Mau forest kicks off

A fixed-wing aircraft doing ariel seeding at Sierra Leone in Maasai Mau Forest on November 1, 2019. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The government will start fencing the Maasai Mau Forest in the next two weeks. 

The over 44,000-hectare forest that was reclaimed in 2019 after more than 35,000 illegal settlers were evicted will be fenced in two phases, with the first one covering 30 kilometres.

According to area Deputy County Commissioner Felix Kisalu, the multi-million project being undertaken by the Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA) will seal the fate of the evictees, who were still hoping to return to the forest.

“Plans to fence the forest started last year when government surveyors marked the boundaries and now everything is set. We have the first batch of posts delivered and the National Construction Authority has approved the required standards of fencing,” said Kisalu.

This will also deter the communities living around the forest from grazing their livestock in the forest to allow regeneration.

Kisalu further said the fence will also prevent illegal loggers and poachers from accessing the forest. It is aimed at minimising conflicts between the community and the security agencies manning the forest.

Apart from the fencing, the administrator revealed that the government will initiate community-driven projects such as planting tea and avocado trees around the forest to benefit the locals economically.

“We have community projects such as water piping. The KWTA will ensure the water points that are in the forest are identified and piped to the communities depending on them to prevent them from entering the now protected forest,” he said.

He at the same time cautioned leaders against spreading false hope that evictees will one day return to the forest.

“We know there are people who sold land to those evicted and are going around giving false hope,” he added.