Mau evictions painful but must be done, says Tobiko

Monday, September 2nd, 2019 00:00 | By
Moving out of Mau forest. Photo/Courtesy

The intensity of rumblings in the face of  Mau evictions is acquiring ominous tones that ought to be toned down even with the D-day here. 

 The Environment ministry is unrelenting on the issue that kicks off today even as House Environment Committee has called for a halt and summoned Cabinet secretary Keriako Tobiko.

It has become an unfortunate  Tower of Babel between those championing the restoration of a key water tower and regional leaders, some of them convinced its vile conspiracy.       

The huge chasm in opinion and the tension it has kicked off is increasingly palpable and has sucked in politicians and victims even as some started trooping out yesterday.

They are innocent victims of self-reinforcing layers of toxic politics that have buried facts at the altar of self-serving political and in cases, commercial interests. 

That continued encroachment and stripping of the Mau of vegetation presents an existential threat sounds hollow to some people. Kenyans are alive to the current global outrage as large swathes of the Amazon’s rainforest is currently up in flames amid reference to lungs of the earth choking. 

It’s not just  Mau but Kenya’s other water towers that also face a dire threat. Reckless extraction and exploitation of the Mau ecosystem cannot go on.   This country must weigh the looming ecological and environmental disasters we face. 

We must be alive to the spectre of water bodies drying up and with them the diversity they support and stop the pursuit of short-term economic interests such as logging and charcoal burning. 

The pitiful plight of the  Mara River whose existence is tied to the complex Mau ecosystem is living testimony.   True, there is the imperative to factor in the heart-wrenching realities of gullible Kenyans who face eviction, many through no fault of their own. 

Where are the buccaneers who they claim had sold them the land? Those engaged in flamboyant rhetoric of human crisis ideally should also be part of solution-seeking. 

That the  Mau is hot political potato has been proved time and again, but there is futility in the option where we see no evil and hear no evil fearing political ramifications. 

Tobiko once announced that the President had directed that every ministry dedicate 10 per cent of their budget to tree planting. This must be effected. We must aim to have at least a tree cover of 10 per cent by 2020 but intervention must start today.

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