In Summary
  • Why must the evictions take place during the rains or the school term?

  • It is anyone’s guess why no one in government seems to care about these vulnerable groups.

  • What is clear is that the evictions have also been quite selective so far, with the poor being the soft target.

It is hard to argue against the conservation of Mau Forest, a vital water catchment on which about 10 million people in Kenya and other countries in the region depend.

The forest has drastically shrunk in size and value in recent years under the pressure of human settlement, government excisions, illegal logging and fires.

At the global level, the massive destruction of Mau also evokes fears about climate change.

PLAINLY WRONG

To its credit, the Kenyan government has rolled out a restoration plan, which also involves kicking settlers out of the forest.

But the manner it is going about evicting people is plainly wrong.

By failing to provide alternative settlement to the hundreds of thousands of targeted evictees, the government risks swelling the numbers of the country’s internal refugees and creating another humanitarian crisis for itself.

Many parts of the country are already teeming with internally displaced persons, including victims of ethnic clashes and election-related violence.

About 60,000 families will be affected by the latest and second round of evictions set to be enforced by October 31.

Some 12,000 people were kicked out of the forest in the first phase in July last year.

TORCHING HOUSES

Their eviction was particularly memorable for the crude and cruel tactics employed by the State, including security officers torching houses.

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