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Embobut Forest

Brief on Embobut Forest

Embobut forest is a gazetted reserve of 21,933.3 Ha.

Some few permit holders from adjacent community were allowed to occupy open grasslands (glades) specifically for grazing. No cultivation was allowed. Later hunters and gatherers (Sengwer / Kimala came into the forest. In 1962 land slide victims from several clans joined the permit holders in the open grounds (glades).

 


The population of the permit holders, Sengwer/ Kimala and landslide victims increased with time therefore forcing them to venture out of the glades into the deep forest. The lifestyle of the Sengwer/ Kimala under the influence of other communities who had joined them adopted farming which is against the forest law.

Several attempts to move the populations from the forest have been undertaken since 1980 to 2009. The Service since has engaged wide stakeholder groups in attempts to restore the forest.

A consultation meeting to address the issue of the squatters and restoration of Embobut forest was held on 4th April 2009 which recommended the following points;

i)Need for long term solution/ plan for forest protection and conservation

ii)Need for the constitution of all inclusive taskforce to look into the forest issues on protection and conservation.

iii)Removal of populations who have settled in the gazetted forest

As a follow up of the above meeting, the Minister for Forestry and Wildlife toured the forest on April 2009 to assess the situation, culminating into the formation of a taskforce with the following terms of reference:

-To enquire and determine the categories of squatters affected by eviction and verify those with genuine right for alternative settlement

-To collect and collate through public barazas and other sources the number and categories of vetted genuine squatters to be presented to the government for alternative resettlement

-To find convenient temporary resettlement sites (glades) for genuine squatters while waiting for a decision on permanent alternative resettlement to be made

-To take inventory of public utilities in the forest land below the road towards Kerio Valley with a view to proposing action to be taking

The taskforce in response to the Terms of Reference got to work and their findings are contained in a working document. The document was circulated widely including to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, special Programme and all stakeholders.

After studying the report, the Ministry of Special Programme recommended for the validation of the document. The taskforce went ahead to implement the recommendation of the Ministry of special Programme by organizing a series of public barazas in all the glades in June 2012. The main purpose of this exercise was to

 

•Verify  the real names and identification numbers of the genuine people to be given alternative resettlement

•Find out if there were any other genuine squatters who were not captured in the document

•Sensitize the squatters to be ready for resettlement elsewhere

After the above exercise, the taskforce came up with a harmonized register of 2,874 Embobut forest evictees (genuine squatters) which was forwarded to the Ministry of Special programme towards the end of June 2012 for implementation. As a sign of commitment the Government of Kenya directed the relevant ministries to look for land to settle the genuine squatters.

In the month of August 2012, the Government managed to acquire land in Nakuru County and on 26th August 2012, a team of representatives of the squatters from all the glades were selected to go and view the land which they later rejected. The Government went on to look for an alternative land and later managed to purchase a farm in Moiben in Uasin Gishu County to settle 400 (Four hundred) beneficiaries in phase one.

On 15th March 2013 a meeting of genuine squatters was convened by the District Commissioner Marakwet East District at Tangul Primary school ground and in attendance were representatives from Ministry of Special Programme and the Office of the President. The purpose of the meeting was to give the genuine squatters an opportunity to ballot for the 400 parcels of land. Unfortunately they declined this offer demanding that they need to be settled all at once.

There is no forceful eviction of populations from the Cherengani forest. Genuine persons deserving resettlement under the Government programme of resettling internally displaced persons (IDPs) and in particular the Embobut forest dwellers were extensively profiled through a thorough consultative and highly participatory process.

The list of beneficiaries is available for scrutiny. The Government initiative through the State Department for Special Programmes as indicated above went through a process that culminated in a negotiated offer of Ksh. 390, 000 to purchase land plus a relocation amount of KSh 10,000 to the 2,874 families’ majority of whom are the Sengwer. This money for each affected person was purposely to find land and settle in order to pave way to the Government to restore the Embobut forests.

 

 

 

Sections of the depleted Embobut forest. 16000 ha of the 21,933.3 ha forest are extensively degraded

 

 

Section of Embobut forest cleared for farming and food production. Often resulting to erosion and risks of landslides

 

   
   
   
   
   
Sections of Embobut forest cleared for farming and food production. Often resulting to erosion and risks of landslides  

 

 
   

County Commissioner Elgeyo Markwet Osiyo (Second Left), KFS Head of Conservancy, North Rift Solomon Mbiey (right), KFS Ecosystem Conservator Elgeyo Markwet Alfred Kurgat and KFS Inspector Henry Petto Akudunyan (left) in a field operation activity in Iten. KFS Senior Deputy Director Field Operations Emilio Mugo in an interview with KBC TV. Mr. Mugo said the Service has set aside KSh. 10 million for tree planting in the vastly degraded Embobut Forest during the long rains in March 2014.
   
   
   

 
Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner Arthur Osiya (middle) together with Senior Director of Administration in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Amb. Julius Kandie (left) and KFS Head of Conservancy North Rift Solomon Mbiey addressing a group of journalists soon after a tour of the Embobut forest.  
   
   
   
   

For additional information, please contact Kenya Forest Service Corporate Communications Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 020 2396440

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