- Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya says the government is out to correct past mistakes to save future generations.
“You ask somebody to explain why they put a Nyayo Tea Zone between two government forests and they cannot even explain.
"But for us, we are determined to correct all those things because we know if we don’t do it now, then posterity will judge us very harshly."
The Nyayo Tea Zone estate perched between the Mau and Olpusimoru forests will be cleared in the ongoing second phase of restoring the Mau Forest Complex, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya has said.
Mr Natembeya, speaking in Nakuru, said the tea estate had encroached on the water towers and started farming in gazetted forests.
“There is this issue of the Nyayo Tea Zone, with people talking about the cutline and boundaries. Now the position is that [zone]was planted when there was a lot of encroachment on Olpusimoru forest, a national government forest,” he said.
When people were moved out, he said, the tea was only planted to show the boundary and it was not meant to show that the Maasai Mau forest was now available for settlement
“Even when you go to the ground now, both the canopies for Maasai Mau and Olpusimoru forests are the same. So we are saying that if indeed we were to plant tea, actually it is supposed to benefit the people who were there before the ballooning of the group ranches into the forest. Those are the people who are supposed to benefit from the Nyayo Tea Zone as they protect the Maasai Mau Forest,” he said.
He wondered how a tea farm can be in the middle of two government forests, adding that they are determined to correct past mistakes.
“When you put a Nyayo Tea Zone between two forests, whom is it supposed to serve. These are some of the things that happened in the past to prove that some of people holding senior government positions can do some things using their positions that end up embarrassing the government they serve,” he said.
Although the Mau Forest Complex has been damaged, he said, officials are determined to make amends to ensure a better forest cover in the future.