KFS to allocate 130 acres to Trans Nzoia County Council to develop Suam Border
Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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The Kenya Forest Service - KFS has pledged to release a total of 130 acres of land from its Suam Forest to enable the Nzoia County Council to construct a model town at the Suam Border point.
KFS board chairman Professor Richard Musangi revealed that the service has already approved the request presented by the local authority requesting to get the land to upgrade the area by putting up a decent market and town to link the border line.
Accompanied by the Director David Mbugua, Musangi said that the board is only waiting for the council to meet certain conditions forwarded to them before it moves to the final stages of having the land de-gazetted for the purpose.
KFS director David Mbugua
Speaking in a recent function in Kwanza constituency, the two leaders said that the town is bound to be a model one that is well planned and thus warned civic leaders and other interested leaders not to expect the land to be grabbed and mis-allocated to their cronies as it has been in many such cases.
"We are expecting to have a model town put up at Suam border once the process of de-gazzetting the land is through and thus councilors should not think that they will get an opportunity to put up stalls or give them to their people. We want a well planned town that shall transform the area cutting across the border between the two countries," the chairman said.
The famous Suam border has no formal town or structures on the Kenyan side as compared to the Uganda side that has a decent and well planned town with many facilities and services offered.
Kenyans living in the area rely on buying goods and getting services from Uganda side or traveling to Chepchoina, Endebes or Kitaletens of kilometers away.
Charcoal burners to form associations
At the same time the KFS director Mbugua has called upon charcoal burners to form associations to be registered and enable them to officially benefit from the government forests in the country.
He said the KFS board is set to have the amendment of the charcoal burning act to make it friendly and beneficial to the people doing the business.
"The service has put in place measures to have the charcoal burning act in the government forest be amended to enable the business operators enjoy their business by following the right procedure. We therefore call upon them to form charcoal burning associations so that they can be able to point out officially at the sections of the forests they want to harvest," said Mbugua.
However the new revelations in the area came amid complaints and criticisms from the residents of Kwanza district who accused forest officers from soliciting money from Ugandans to be allocated land at the forest under the Shamba system while they overlooked Kenyans.
In the system residents are allocated a given amount of land in the forest to cultivate crops as they also take care of the forest trees to grow until it reaches a point where the crops cannot grow under their shades.
The residents said that the officers collect at least Kshs 5000 from Ugandans for one acre of land annually and sideline the poor Kenyans who can not afford the money even though the program is supposed to be free but give priority to members of community forests associations -CFAs.