A multi-agency team has been formed to resolve the Eastern Mau land dispute that has led to evictions and ethnic clashes.
The team, which commenced its work yesterday after touring affected areas of Marioshioni and Nessuit in Eastern Mau, is expected to demarcate clear boundaries between settlement schemes and forest land.
The team is drawn from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Ministry of Lands.
Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo said the initiative is geared towards resolving long-standing issues of Mau forest land and restoring degraded forest lands by 2022.
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Lands PS Nicholas Muraguri said the team has already met local leaders and communities.
He said the team will be demarcating the boundaries based on 1994 maps to avoid clashing of foresters and communities.
“Clear demarcation will also pave way for resolving the caveat issue in the Mau where those residing outside forest land will acquire titles,” he said.
He said the multi-agency team will take a month to complete the demarcation process.
“Other pronouncements factoring in Ogiek in terms of implementation of the African Court ruling will be made after demarcation of boundaries,” Dr Muraguri added.
He said the government is determined to stop the conflicts. In June, Kenya Forest Service (KFS) started evictions from the 57,000-hectare Eastern Mau which, according to Ecosystem Conservator Frank Misonge, half of it has been encroached on.
Nessuit Member of County Assembly, who is also deputy speaker at the Nakuru County Assembly, Kipkemoi Tonui, had sued KFS, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko and Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya over the Mau evictions.
Mr Tonui, through lawyers Kipkoech Ng’etich and Renny Langat, said Tobiko and Natembeya are coordinating an operation to disturb residents of Nessuit, Marioshoni, Sururu, Lilia, Terit and Sigotik settlement schemes having commenced evictions.
Speaking during the stakeholder meeting at Nessuit with the multi-agency team, Tonui said he is ready to withdraw the case if a clear roadmap in demarcating forest boundaries is followed.