Kenya’s water towers and environmental degradation, where do we stand?

The threat of climate change is too big to ignore and we should look to take care of the environment, water towers
The threat of climate change is too big to ignore and we should look to take care of the environment, water towers

The Mau Forex Complex is located in the Rift Valley Province about 200km to the South West of Nairobi and covers four Counties, Kericho, Nakuru, Bomet and Narok.  It is at the heart of controversy at the moment on whether or not to evict those who settled in the Water Tower in the President Moi era.  It pits the Maasai Community, who are for the eviction, against largely the Kipsigis who are the settlers in the eye of the storm.

The reality of climate change is with all of us. It is therefore imperative that Kenya as a nation saves, protects, rehabilitates its five water towers that are Mt. Kenya, Aberdare Range, Mau Complex forests, Cherengani Hills and Mt. Elgon.

Material to the Counties of the former Western Province of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga and the neighbouring Trans Nzoia County are Cherengani Hills and Mt. Elgon water towers. Make no mistake that the two water towers are in dire straits, they are being decimated yet the Counties whose survival depends on them are silent or plainly oblivious to the degradation those towers have been subjected to since Kenya gained independence.

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) stands guilty as charged for total dereliction of its statutory duties, mandate of protecting, safeguarding, preserving our environment including the water towers.

The Counties of the former Western Province and North Rift are equally culpable for relegating to a foot note or as of no consequence matters – environment, our water towers.  So let us not sit pretty thinking the Mau Complex Forest Saga is too remote and has no bearing to our region.  Our region is equally in the same dilemma that the Mau question is now as the political elite have since independence ruthlessly, callously and with impunity settled people in the water towers of Cherengani Hills and Mt. Elgon and we must as a region confront that devastation, degradation of our water towers, forests now rather than later.

Mr. Keriako Tobiko the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment must extend his tough talk and action to the Counties of the former Western province if he is serious about environmental protection, nurturing, rehabilitation.  Our region is bleeding from environmental degradation right across from Kakamega Forest, Mt. Elgon, Cherengany Hills, Maragoli Hills, Lake Victoria, name them.

At the heart of environmental degradation is human greed and in Kenya perpetrated by those charged to protect the same environment being public, servants who abuse their role of custodians and turn predators, plunderers of the environment in cahoots with the beneficiaries.

The war against environmental degradation and impunity by those charged to protect the environment must be fought relentlessly and without fear or favour as it is a right for every Kenyan now and in the future to enjoy a sustainable enriching environment.