Effects of Mau Forest Evictions on Human Security of the Ogiek Community, Kenya

Authors

  • Betty Chemutai Koech Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology
  • Crispinous Iteyo Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51867/ajernet.4.2.29

Keywords:

Evictions, Forest Community, Human security, Ogiek Community

Abstract

Forest communities have had to globally endure evictions, sometimes forceful, due to the need for governments to conserve the environment by protecting forests from negative human actions. The Ogiek are hunters and gatherers and rely mainly on wild fruits, beekeeping, and game hunting as a source of livelihood. Animals, e.g., hyrax, were hunted. The Ogiek's lives and sources of livelihood are highly dependent on the forest. The Ogiek community of Mau Forest, Kenya, is a forest community that has faced a similar fate since the colonial period. This study sought to establish the effects of Mau Forest evictions on the human security of the Ogiek community in Kenya. The study used a descriptive research design. The study sampled 465 respondents, who included 384 household heads, 1 county commissioner, 2 deputy county commissioners, 7 chiefs, 14 village elders, 1 county police commander, 2 sub-county police commanders, 5 conservationist organisations, 5 environmentalist groups, 1 UNEP officer, 1 UN Habitat officer, 1 officer from the ministry of environment, 10 officers from Kenya Forest Service (KFS), 10 officers from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), 5 officers from NGOs, 1 officer from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), and 15 heads of NGOs and CBOs. The study applied simple random, purposive, and census sampling techniques. Interviews, questionnaires, FGDs, and observation made up the data collection instruments. SPSS version 26 was used to analyse quantitative data. The data revealed that the Mau forest evictions had negative effects on Ogiek human security, including deaths (86%), injuries (97%), destruction of homes (98%), farms (80%), livestock (52%), illness (95%), lack of sanitation (92%), gender-based violence (69%), disruption of schooling (100%), loss of culture (94%), separation from family (88%), loss of livelihoods (98%), and increased human-wildlife conflicts (78%). 100% of respondents feared for their safety. The study revealed that the evictions had negative effects on the Ogiek community on virtually all seven elements of human security, namely economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security, and political security. The study contributes to the literature on indigenous land rights and human security, informs policymakers, and assists policy implementers in carrying out government directives without violating people's rights. It is also essential for civil society leaders. The study recommends that clear and transparent guidelines regarding the eviction process and any form of compensation be set and discussed with the affected households so as to avoid unnecessary impoverishment and protect livelihoods. The study further reckons that the government should adopt a more humane and sustainable relocation policy and provide alternative ways of livelihood to the victims.

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Published

2023-08-24

How to Cite

Koech, B. C., & Iteyo, C. (2023). Effects of Mau Forest Evictions on Human Security of the Ogiek Community, Kenya. African Journal of Empirical Research, 4(2), 275–292. https://doi.org/10.51867/ajernet.4.2.29