I don’t own any forest land, says Sports PS
Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia has denied owning 100 hectares (247 acres) of forest land in Timau, saying the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) only gave him authority to rehabilitate the forest.
Speaking to journalists at the expansive land, the PS wondered how his efforts to rehabilitate the forest had been misconstrued as intention to grab the land as he doesn’t have a title deed and the only document he has is a letter of authority from KWS to restore it into a forest.
He said so far, he had planted 500,000 trees with a target to plant 300,000 more this season in collaboration with the Community Forest Association (CFA).
Last month, the Task Force established to look into the management of Kenya’s water towers disclosed that it will make serious recommendations to deal with land grabbers who have encroached into forest land.
The task force claimed it has received serious allegations from members of the public and conservationists about logging and other human activities being carried out by past and current government officials.
The team received reports that the PS was not using the land for the purpose of forest rehabilitation but the Kaberia said he had no intentions of using the land for any other purpose.
“This land, contrary to reports, is being used for the purpose it was meant for. There were allegations that I have not planted trees but that is not true since it is evident. Conservation is my passion and after this land is covered with forest I will take 100 more hectares because my target at the moment it to rehabilitate 500 hectares,” he said, adding that he had established a nursery and supplied water on the land.
“When this matter came up I was out of the country on official duty and nobody came to me with the aim establishing the grounds on which I am here,” he said.
CFA chairman Wilson Muga said they had worked in collaboration with the PS in tree planting, adding that he was the one who supplied them with seedlings.
“In the late 1980s this land was allocated to a wheat farmer who after leaving, the land was left bare without trees. We came in later after the government introduced the project in which we do farming as we plant trees,” said Mr Muga.
He said that so far, they had succeeded in rehabilitating hundreds of acres by planting trees.
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