By Geoffrey Mosoku
Last year, the Cabinet, chaired by former President Kibaki, passed a resolution directing all herders who had entered the national parks to be evicted.
Among the areas targeted was Tsavo National Park, where pastoralists from the Maasai and Somali communities were grazing their cattle following drought in parts of the country.
The directive came at a time the country was gearing towards the General Election and was consequently halted due to fears of a political backlash from voters.
But this month, the Government, through the National Security Council, ordered the eviction of pastoralists from parks citing rising incidents of poaching.
Fearing that they would fall victim, a group of pastoralists who occupy private ranches in Maungu area of Taita Taveta County, which is adjacent to Tsavo, moved to the High Court in Mombasa seeking orders to stop security agencies from evicting them.
They were granted the orders, but last week officers drawn from a combined force of Kenya Wildlife Service and GSU evicted the pastoralists, a move that has affected about 500,000 cattle and camel. A Non-Governmental Organisation based in North Eastern, Kulun Foundation, visited the area last week and said police had ignored the court order and abused the Cabinet directive to forcefully remove herders who were operating outside the park.
Last weekend we went to Maungu in Taveta to assess the situation after eviction of herders. More....