Fate of 15 Mau schools in limbo as 10,000 p****e face eviction

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 30 Aug, 2019 20:00 | 2 mins read
Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya (centre) addresses Mau Forest restoration steering committee at his office in Nakuru yesterday. Photo/PD/RAPHAEL MUNGE

Mercy Mwai, Noah Cheploen and KNA

The fate of 15 primary schools built in the Mau Forest complex at a cost of Sh60 million, and now set for closure due to a planned eviction, hangs in the balance, three days to the opening date.

Yesterday, Education Principal secretary Belio Kipsang did not explain what measures the government would take regarding the learning institutions but promised the matter will be addressed amicably. 

Kipsang, who appeared before National Assembly’s Education committee, said: “In government, we have a framework of engagement and I am sure we are going to look at this matter and the interests of children taken care of.”

The questions came after the committee chair and Tinderet MP Julius Melly and his Malava counterpart Malulu Injendi sought to know measures the government was taking to ensure the welfare of children in the schools was addressed. 

His assurance came even as Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya said the government had formed a committee to spearhead the restoration of Mau Forest Complex as the second phase of evictions commences.

He said there was no going back on the restoration of forests and warned elected leaders against politicising the matter.

“The Mau forest debates have no substance except heavy political undertones. We are not flouting any law here,” he said.

Encroach on forest

The 10-member committee, chaired by Natembeya, comprises senior government officials drawn from National Police Service, the Kenya Forest Service, National Intelligence Service, the Kenya Wildlife Service, Ministry of Interior and Kenya Water Towers Agency.

Natembeya denied claims that over 50,000 people  would be evicted in the coming days, saying the exercise would affect 10,000 people who have encroached on the forest. He said a multi-sectoral team had received a nod from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to start reforestation programmes in the coming weeks.

The administrator, who spoke after chairing a closed-door meeting with a team tasked to oversee the evictions, maintained that no Standard Eight and Form Four learners, who are candidates for national examinations, would be affected as there were no public schools in the targeted block.

Political leaders from the region have protested the looming evictions.