Human Rights Watch has called on relevant authorities to investigate abusive officers overseeing evictions in Mau Forest. Their research finds that officials beat people, destroy crops and torch homes pushing to many families being stranded in the cold.
HRW also said that nine people including children have died in an exercise they say the government has conducted in an unlawful and abusive manner. They claim that the government is failing to follow its own guidelines in its efforts to preserve Mau Forest.
Earlier in august, the government through the ministry of lands nullified more than 1270 title deeds prior to the evictions. Environment CS Keriako Tobiko took a hard stance when he insisted that encroachers would be evicted if they didn’t leave the forest.
Kenya Forest Service Officers have been deployed in three camps in the forest to carry out the evictions targeting to uproot some 60,000 families. HRW said that their investigations reveal that the officers are employing excessive force when carrying out the exercise. The body also alleges that there are people missing, they could be alive or dead.
The body echoes Rift Valley politicians opposed to the eviction exercise that aim to salvage the forest from massive destructions by encroachers. The politicians who have even filed cases in court to delay or oppose the exercise, called on the government to carry out the evictions in a humane manner.
Kenya adopted eviction guidelines in the year 2009, three years after an exercise that the government only halted after a court order. Guidelines indicate that those being evicted must be given prior notification of at least three months, published in the official gazette and served to the affected people individually or if not possible, pinned in an open where they can see it.
Former Bomet Governor who is desperate for political attention has stated that he will block Mau evictions. It’s not a new thing with him, he even opposed the 2009 evictions but the forest must be protected in perpetuity, Kenyans need of water towers to be protected to guarantee future supply of water.