Leave Karura forest land alone: Minister
Cabinet Secretary for Environment Judy Wakhungu has said that no construction would be allowed inside Karura forest.
She sought to allay fears that a private company planned to set up a six star multi-storey hotel in the heart of the forest.
“Our position is that the land has not been de-gazetted and no construction can take place,” she said in an interview.
An outcry has greeted recent media reports that a foreign-based company had acquired three parcels of land illegally allocated to three Kenyan firms during the Kanu era for the project.
The company is said to have already petitioned the High Court to compel the Kenya Forestry Service to remove a fence and give it access to the 18.3 acres illegally excised from the forest to enable it build a hotel.
“I think the whole issue has been taken out of context because no structure can be erected on land gazetted as a forest,” Mrs Wakhungu said.
Over 32 civil society groups are planning to rally supporters for protests against the construction of the hotel.
Mr Cidi Otieno from the Coalition for Constitution Implementation said that civil society groups will meet on Tuesday to set up a strategy to protect the forest.
Greenbelt Movement has said it would join ongoing efforts to stop any attempt by the foreign consortium to put up the hotel.
Through a press release, Greenbelt movement Board Chair, Wanjiru Maathai — daughter of the late Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai — told the developer to appreciate public interest and seek alternative land.
Prof Maathai was the founder of the Greenbelt Movement set up to protect forests. This won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.