KWS Asks Private Investor to Evict 3,500 Kenyans

  • Residents during the evictions at Makima in Embu county on Saturday, April 24, 2021.
    Residents during the evictions at Makima in Embu county on Saturday, April 24, 2021.
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  • The government has asked a private investor in Mwatate, Taita Taveta County, to evict over 3,500 Kenyans on their 2,000-acre parcel of land.

    A report by the Nation on Sunday, June 13, indicated that Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), in a letter addressed to Taita Hills and Sattlick Lodges manager, wanted the individuals to be removed from the land to pave way for the construction of a Ksh40 million fence.

    The construction of the fence had begun 10 years ago but stalled after KWS claimed that its workers were being attacked by the locals.

    The service further indicated that the individuals had been vandalising and in some instances, stealing the raw materials meant for the construction process hence driving the cost upwards.

    A Kenya Wildlife Service officer on duty.
    A Kenya Wildlife Service officer on duty.
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    The individuals in question have settled on the 2,000-acre parcel since 1980s when they first settled their.

    Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary has claimed ownership of the land on which the fence which covers the 30-km stretch at Kamtonga-Alia is set to be constructed.

    The residents had taken KWS in court accusing the entity of encroaching on its land in the name of constructing the fence.

    The court, however, ruled in favour of the service allowing it to put up the fence which is aimed at reducing human-wildlife conflict as well as poaching tendencies.

    "Please note that after the court ruling that the fence has not interfered with the complaints parcel of land and ordered continuation to completion of it, KWS has embarked to complete it as per that court order.

    "After the exercise commenced, tension by local communities started mounting and by yesterday morning our fence team upon reaching the site reported vandalism suspected it could have been done by those communities who have settled along the fence construction line claiming land ownership," read the letter in part.

    The residents appealed to the state not to evict them asking to be supplied with their own title deeds.

    This comes a year after residents of Kajiado County rejected an order by President Uhuru Kenyatta on the expansion of the Nairobi National Park, arguing that it will make them homeless.

    They moved to court to seek permanent orders against the directive issued by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Kenyatta's administration was seeking to expand land in Nairobi National Park to conserve the environment and wildlife. 

    The Head of State directed that national parks and reserves should have their title deeds to protect them from land grabbers.

    Entrance gate at the Nairobi National Park.
    Entrance gate at the Nairobi National Park. A tour van driver collapsed and died in the line of duty on May 31, 2020.
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