Date Published: 28 Oct, 2009
October 26, 2009 marked a major breakthrough in the government’s appeal to the public to surrender land title deeds in the Mau Forests Complex.
Mr Nkotoi Deliga of Nakuru became the first occupant of the Mau to heed calls from the government to surrender title deed of land situated in water catchment areas.
Mr Deliga handed over his title deed of 2.02 hectare (5 acres) to the newly established Title Deeds Surrender Office, located in Nakuru District Lands Registrar.
The Interim Coordinating Secretariat under the Prime Minister’s Office has set up, through the Ministry of Lands, 14 Title Deeds Surrender Offices in districts around the Mau. These new offices are located in the District Land Offices or in the District Commissioner Offices.
The Secretariat, which is in charge of coordinating the implementation of the Mau Task Force recommendations, views the surrender of the title deed as a positive step towards the repossession and restoration of the Mau water tower.
The Secretariat has presented to the Media a five-phase calendar of events in efforts to repossess and restore the Mau Forests Complex. Phases I and II are on-going and expected to be implemented by early December.
As part of Phase II, the Kenya Forest Service also issued a 14-day vacation notice to people illegally residing in the South Western Mau Forest Reserve. The land affected covers 19,000 hectares.
The ICS, with the support of the relevant ministries through the permanent secretaries, are currently working towards achieving its mandate.
The Mau Forests Complex is the largest of the five “water towers” of Kenya, the others being Mt. Kenya, Aberdares, Cherangani Hills and Mt. Elgon.
It forms part of the upper catchments of all (but one) main rivers on the west side of the Rift Valley, including Nzoia, Yala, Nyando, Sondu, Mara, Ewaso Ngiro (south), Naishi, Makalia, Nderit, Njoro, Molo and Kerio;
It provides water to six major lakes, including Victoria, Turkana, Baringo, Naivasha, Nakuru and Natron, of which three are cross-boundary lakes.