Does coalition have will to
resolve Mau crisis?
By CABRAL PINTO
Friday, July 25 2008 at 20:48
- A government that canít guarantee security of its citizens is
not a government.
- Task force mandated to deal with the issues of resettlement and
If the grand coalition Government does not resolve the Mau Forest
saga it will prove to Kenyans and the rest of the world that it
doesnít deserve to rule.
A government that canít guarantee national survival and security
of citizens is not a government in the community of civilised
That the Mau Forest is a lifeline of Kenya and critical for its
national survival cannot be debated.
Various columnists have dwelt at length on the impact the Mau
destruction will have on energy, tourism, tea, and the livelihoods
of Kenyans and Tanzanians.
The effects of its destruction are being felt as water levels in
rivers and lakes reduce. The destruction must stop and its
Very little discussion, if any, has been accorded the issue of
national security. What is called the politics of the crisis is a
euphemism for ethnic strife and water wars among communities.
AFTER THE JANUARY VIOLENCE, should Kenyans not realise that water
wars will be more vicious and unrelenting than wars on last yearís
What is also forgotten is that the destruction of Mau Forest could
result in a definite war between Kenya and Egypt.
Those who have been debating the legality of the waters of the
Nile will tell you that the forest is one of its core sources. The
Mau forest crisis is not an internal affair as our politicians
seem to think.
The Government has set up a taskforce to address the crisis. The
question, however, is whether it has the political will to resolve
the issue? For this political will to be displayed the following
must be done as soon as possible.
First, the taskforce may perform the role of calming political
alliances in ODM and PNU, but this issue is bigger than both
parties and their perceived importance to Kenyans.
Secondly, the team should be mandated to deal with the issues of
resettlement and compensation. The fencing off of the forest and
its rehabilitation should have started yesterday.
Previous regimes have perfected the appointment of commissions or
taskforces to defuse tensions and use them as projects of
political cowardice. The Mau crisis calls for swift action to
prevent a disaster.
There is need for massive civic education on the consequences of
destroying the Mau and any other forest that is a lifeline to the
survival of Kenya.
Kenyans need to know how the rehabilitation of Aberdares Forest,
for example, has resulted in higher water levels in the rivers
that flow from there.
Kenyans ought to know that the catchment areas donít benefit the
communities that are speaking out ó the Kalenjin, Maasai, Luo ó
but is critical to the livelihood of all citizens.
Is it difficult for a Mkamba peasant to understand that
interfering with the water catchment areas on Mt Kenya and the
Aberdares will hurt her livelihood?
The material on the criminal and illegal allocation of the forest
exists and only requires analysis and interrogation.
The Ndungíu Report should be implemented religiously.
Kenya needs to put an end to this destructive greed that allows
some people to rape their motherland, desecrate nature and then
disappear with the ill-gotten wealth to other countries as the
The Government can confirm to Kenyans that it is serious about
reforms on the Constitution, truth, justice and reconciliation,
corruption, education, HIV and Aids and others if it handles the
Mau crisis with fervour and patriotism.
THE CRISIS TEACHES US THAT the land question will never go away
and populist reforms like the ones Lands minister James Orengo
comes up with occasionally simply scratch the surface of the
Who is going to tell Kenyans that there will never be enough land
for all of them? Who will tell them that there are pieces of land
they cannot cultivate, desecrate or settle on?
Does any Mugiriama ever think of cultivating a kaya? Why are water
catchment areas not sacred? When will Mr Orengo talk to critical
land owners in Kenya to find out whether they are ready for
reforms that will save the country from catastrophe?
It is time the critical land owners woke up to the reality that
the status quo on land in the country is unjust, immoral, selfish
and threatens national security.
Is the grand coalition ready to signal its determination to secure
the lives and livelihoods of all Kenyans by addressing the broad