The Mau Forest complex is probably the most complex issue to ever discuss. It borders between politics, environment and legal issues. So controversial has been the issue that it has caused huge rifts and political fall outs. In 2005 Kalenjin leaders pulled their support from Mwai Kibaki over the evictions of people from the Mau In 2009 William Ruto and Raila Odinga parted ways after disagreeing over the evictions pulling out of the Mau.
The media has decided to focus mainly on the ethnic and political issues and fuelling this fire. For instance the past one week Kipchumba Murkomen has become one of the biggest newsmakers of the week because he is refusing to have members of the Kalenjin community.
The conservancy issue has become an issue which is not discussed. The Mau Forest is a water tower that makes sure Kenya’s bread basket has enough water to people. The area is so complex that if it is deforested it will lead to lots of floods and if it is properly maintained will be able to make sure that normal rainfall is maintained.
The media has however not covered it on this angle due to the fact that people live in this area. It has taken to political spins of who says what. This has always been the case. For instance yesterday on JKL Isaac Ruto and Senator Ledama Ole Kina presented two different factions.
The issue being that evictions need to be done well and that evictions need to happen. Senator Ledama who represents Narok County believes that the evictions are necessary and that it is important to be done. On the other hand Governor Isaac Ruto believes in a humanistic approach where people have to be evicted but it has to happen in a fashionable manner to avoid conflicts in the Mau.
It is up to the media to follow up on all issues and not to ignore any of them. The human rights perspective of whether they will be compensated and also the conservational approach where the land needs to be protected also.
For a country which wants to achieve a 10% forest cover it is important for the media to set an objective discussion. This is important to avoid losing the forest cover and the Mau Complex which will lead to a lot of issues such as drought and famine which are slowly becoming prominent in Kenya. It is up to the media to set this agenda and avoid a crisis.