Ogiek at risk of eviction

March 1, 2004

This page was created in 2004 and may contain language which is now outdated.

The Ogiek people have occupied the mountain ridges of Kenya's Mau forest since time immemorial as hunter-gatherers and collectors of honey. Past governments have repeatedly tried to drive them out, and the forest has been invaded by logging companies, tea plantations and farmers. Most recently, the government of President Moi planned to open up 60,000 hectares of the Mau forest to yet more such developments, dispossessing the Ogiek of their land.

Although the new National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) government is a year old, this plan has not been cancelled. At the same time the government is formulating a new forest policy which aims to protect and restore the nation's forests by evicting illegal farmers and squatters. However the Ogiek fear that vested interests will try to use the new policy to evict them too. They are calling on the government to recognise their right to their forest territory.