Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has named Marmanet forest as government’s next target days after successfully reclaiming encroached Mau forest.
On Saturday the CS made an aerial and ground tour of the Marmanet forest in Laikipia County and has since issued a warning to those who have encroached on and obtained illegal titles over the water catchment area that their time is up.
The CS decried the state of forest that has been converted into large scales of commercial farmlands. The forest which originally measured 19,600 hectares has been reduced into commercial wheat and maize plantations.
The water catchment area which is the only source of water for Lakes Bogoria and Baringo, and feeds Ewaso Ngiro River which later drains into the Lorian Swamp has been degraded and destroyed, through human activities including encroachment, illegal settlements and overgrazing.
In an effort to reclaim and restore the water catchment area Safaricom and Kenya Prisons have each adopted and replanted portions of the expansive forest.
But in what is proving to be a looming face-off between the government and the locals, an MCA from the area has told the residents to stay put and ignore Tobiko’s threat.
The county legislator, who has been at the forefront fighting for the people of Mochongoi to get title deeds for the land they were resettled in during President Moi’s reign, has also hinted that the community shall be launching a ‘major step’ towards resolving the land issue on November 22.
“There is no cause for alarm so far. I urge all of us to restrain from spreading comments that will cause unnecessary panic among the public. On 22nd November 2019 at Kabel Trading Centre, we shall be launching a critical step towards addressing the issues of Mochongoi and I, therefore, take this opportunity to welcome all of you,” Kipruto Kimosop who is the area MCA stated in his response to the reports.