Kisumu - "The protection of the Mau Forest should not be exploited. We witness the strategies of politicians of some communities that use this heritage only for their profit. They should remember that the Mau Forest complex is the source of key rivers", said Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit of the Anglican Church of Kenya on July 29, addressing members of the congregation at the Cathedral of St. Stephen ACK, Kisumu, on the occasion of a celebration in honor of retired bishop Rev. Francis Mwanyi Abiero, of the diocese of Maseno Sud.
In the note sent to Fides we read that Ole Sapit further warned political leaders not to politicise Mau Forest eviction and added that the church supports the conservation of forests. The evictions are said to affect close to 40,000 people.
"We want to urge the president to support the conservation of Mau and other forests in this country because without the preservation of nature we will not have a future. The Mau Forest complex is very strategic", said the Archbishop.
It is a complex that consists of 16 blocks covering an area of over 300 thousand hectares in the Rift Valley in Kenya. Its importance at an environmental, economic and social level is immense, 130 million people in East Africa depend indirectly on this forest. It is the largest in East Africa, one of the few tropical rain forests in the region, as well as the most important water reservoir in Kenya. This ecosystem is of great importance, which is being endangered by illegal logging activity that has increased in recent decades despite the presence of laws that prohibit it. The pressures are very different from each other: tea monocultures, small peasant agriculture, pine and cypress plantations for commercial purposes, illegal deforestation and even a dam. All in a very complex context from an ethnic point of view, where the historically settled population, the Ogiek, has been progressively marginalized and is fighting to see their right to live in these areas recognized. >>