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BY CORRESPONDENT,NAROK,1ST NOV 2019-The government has officially begun the process of reclaiming the Masai Mau forest with Environment CS Keriako Tobiko leading the exercise to plant more than ten million trees.
Already, an aircraft is spreading seeds, a move that Tobiko said will run until Monday.
“It has been 30 years of stories after stories on why evictions from Mau cannot be done. Narrative has been grafted that this is individual’s agenda. Nothing can be further from the truth,” Tobiko said in apparent reference to Kalenjin politicians who have been accusing him.
Tobiko who was accompanied by Rift valley regional coordinator George Natembaye said 100 per cent of the settlers have vacated, paving way for reclamation of the catchment area.
The 60-day window for people to voluntarily move out lapsed October 30.
However, scores could still be seen struggling to move their crops out. Tobiko said the process has been humane and that no bullet has been fired.
“No houses have been burned contrary to what politicians say in funerals and Barazas,” Tobiko said.
The CS noted that the illegal settlers were not moved out because the government hated them. However, he said, millions have been subjected to suffering due to encroachment.
He said there has been terrible disconnect between the government and politicians. During the first phase of eviction, 11,000 acres were recovered.
In the second phase, about 22,000 acres have been recovered. Tobiko said it will take years for the area to be recovered.
On Friday, he said 200,000 seedlings will be planted manually. The aircraft on the other hand will have planted over four million seedlings.
Tobiko said a survey was being done with a view of fencing it off. He said the first 50 kilometers will be fenced off immediately.
The CS said adjacent communities are being mobilised to plant trees.
Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina said millions of people were suffering as a result of degradation.
“Encroachers are from all ethnic groups. We need to think about the future generation. However we only think about our stomach,” Ole Kina said.
Ole Kina said he had extended an olive branch to leaders from Rift Valley who have been putting spirited fight against the restoration. He said he has been taking an active role in conservation.
“We planted over 20 million trees. Last year, hippos were crying without water. Wildebeest too crossed. You cannot use politics to destroy environment,” Ole kina said.
MP Ole Kenta also warned leaders against politicising matters conservation. He urged Rift valley leaders to join hands.
Kenta said the law will not be bend to fit into the agenda of the few. This is a win for conservation, prosperity and rule of law, Kenta said.