RUTO makes a U-turn as he denies plans to hand over 60,000 hectares of Mau Forest to foreigners after public uproar

Monday, December 4, 2023 – The government of President William Ruto, through the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), has moved to set the record straight over the reports that it handed over a section of Mau Forest Complex spanning 60,000 hectares to a foreign company. 

In a statement, KFS noted that while it was partnering with a Dutch company to conserve South West Mau Forest, it would not hand over ownership of the natural resource to any private entity.

It further remarked that the Dutch-based company had partnered with the government for over a decade to rehabilitate and conserve the water catchment area. 

“There are therefore no intentions by the government to cede ownership of any gazetted forest in Kenya to any other entity apart from that of the Government of Kenya,” the statement from KFS read in part. 

On how the foreign company was helping conserve the environment, KFS noted that it had constructed forest ranger outposts. 

The outposts assist in forest protection and community empowerment projects to reduce pressure on the forest.

While the Dutch company was helping conserve Mau Forest through the aforementioned initiatives, KFS clarified that it should not be misconstrued to mean Ruto’s administration was handing over the management of the forest. 

According to KFS, President Ruto had already pronounced himself on the matter that no natural resource would be handed over to the private sector for management. 

Additionally, KFS noted that the Forest Conservation and Management Act of 2016 mandated the Service with conservation and management of all gazetted forest blocks. 

The Dutch company also clarified its role in Mau Forest Complex conservation.

“Our collaborative efforts entail working with the KFS towards sustainable solutions that benefit both people and the planet,” the company stated.