President William Ruto on Saturday announced the immediate eviction of people living in Mau Forest.
Speaking during the funeral of Titate Ole Sankei, Olopirik Village in Narok County, the President vowed that the government will not negotiate with encroachers.
The Head of State vowed that the government will pull out stops to protect water towers in the country, particularly in the Mau Forest.
Explaining the steps the government will take to protect water towers, Ruto explained that Kenya has already secured financing to fence all water towers.
Aerial view of part of Mau Forest.
“Among the 10 water towers we have in Kenya, Mau forest is the most important,” Ruto affirmed.
Per Ruto’s thinking, this will deter more Kenyans from encroaching into forests and conserve water catchment areas.
“Those already in the forest (Mau) should get out immediately because we are putting up a fence. And it is not a request,” the President warned.
The Mau Forest is the largest water catchment area in the East African region covering an expansive 675,000 acres in Rift Valley.
The eviction of squatters from the water catchment area commenced in 2005 under former President Mwai Kibaki’s administration, when the government declared all title deeds in the Mau region invalid.
The Mau Forest is managed by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS).
Kibaki’s eviction of encroachers from Mau Forest was met with a lot of resistance from residents and politicians from the region which prompted the government to shelve the directive. Following this development, some encroachers settled back in.
President William Ruto has now promised to implement what his predecessors failed to do.
President William Ruto (left) and the late President Mwai Kibaki (right) shaking hands on December 4, 2014.