The Government will not stop securing forests in the country, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
He said the Government was committed to ensuring all water towers in the country including the Mau complex were conserved as the only way to avert desertification.
Dr Ruto, however, cautioned leaders against politicizing issues of environmental conservation to achieve their selfish ends.
“The test of true leadership is finding solutions to challenges facing the people but not by politicizing the problem,” said Dr Ruto.
He went on: “We can’t continue to use the same means that got us into trouble to get out of there.”
Speaking during the funeral service of Samuel ole Koriata, a prominent administrator cum politician held at his Narropil home, Ololunga, Narok County on Saturday, Dr Ruto called for concerted efforts in the war against forest destruction.
Present were Governors Samuel Tunai (Narok), Joseph ole Lenku (Kajiado) and Interior Chief Administrative Secretary Patrick ole Ntutu.
Others were MPs Korei ole Lemein (Narok South), Ken Aramat (Narok East), David Sankok (nominated), Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West), Moitalel ole Kenta (Narok North), Beatrice Kones (Bomet East) and Ladema ole Kina (Narok).
Dr Ruto said environmental conservation was the responsibility of all Kenyans, saying it has nothing to do with individuals or communities.
“As Government, we know the importance of conserving our water towers and we have plans on how to go about this. Issues of conservation are not about individuals or communities but about all Kenyans,” said Dr Ruto.
As part of the efforts to conserve Mau forest, the Deputy President said 2,500 people who had encroached on Mau forest have been evicted.
“As part of our commitment to environmental conservation, we directed that logging in forests be stopped and all those who have interfered with water catchment areas be removed. This is why 2,500 people who encroached on Mau have been evicted,” said Dr Ruto.
The Deputy President, at the same time, urged leaders to discourage politics based on hatred and tribalism and instead take a common stand on matters of unity of Kenyans and the development of the country.
Dr Ruto said it was time leaders put aside their political differences and embrace teamwork by building bridges of friendship and brotherhood as the only way to accelerate development across the country.
The leaders praised the Government’s development initiatives among the Maa community, singling out improved road network, and connection of electricity to households among other development projects.
“The good working relations between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Deputy President has helped accelerate development projects across the country. We must say we are happy as the Maa community for development projects in our region,” said Mr Lenku.
The leaders called for peaceful coexistence among members of Kalenjin and Masaai communities living in Narok County.
Governor Tunai said members of Masaai and Kalenjin communities were living harmoniously in the county, saying they will not allow some few people to interfere with the peaceful coexistence for their own selfish gains.
“I want to make it clear that members of Kipsigis and Masaai communities among other tribes living in this county are living harmoniously,” said Governor Tunai.
Mr Ntutu cautioned leaders against issuing statements on the Mau complex aimed at causing tension and hatred among peace loving residents in the area.
“Issues pertaining to the conservation of the Mau forest require teamwork and unity among all leaders. As leaders, we should stop politicizing this matter for our personal gains,” said Mr Ntutu.
Mr Kentai and Mr Kina called for the conservation of Mau forest.
“We have planted 20 million trees in the Mau forest. As leaders we should commit ourselves on matters of conservation for the sake of the future generations,” said Senator Kina.
The leaders eulogized the late Koriata as a great leader who played a leading role on matters of leadership and administration.