After uproar from the public, the government has been forced to revoke the gazettement of Chetambe Hills in Webuye as a Forest Reserve.
On January 3rd, Environment CS Keriako Tobiko revoked the gazettement of Chetambe Hills in Webuye, Bungoma County as a forest reserve following its gazettement earlier in June via Legal Notice No. 106 of 25th June 2021.
The CS revoked the gazettement to pave way for public participation and verification exercise by a Multi-agency Technical Team.
The team will be led by Kenya Forest Service and coordinated by the County Commissioner, Bungoma County.
The other members will include members of the local communities led by the Chairman of Tachoni Cultural Society (TACUSO).
The CS said that the multi-stakeholder verification exercise is intended to ascertain the extent of the public forest land commensurate to what was compensated for by the government.
The report by the Technical Multi-agency team will subsequently inform the exact area of land to be gazetted as a Public Forest Reserve.
Tobiko spoke during a community engagement baraza at Sipala Secondary School where he was accompanied by his Defense counterpart CS Eugene Wamalwa.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, Bungoma County Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and the Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau were present.
Also in attendance were PS (University Education & Research) Simon Nabukwesi, Kenyan Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo George Masafu, Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, Bungoma County MCAs, Chairman TACUSO among other local leaders.
The gazettement caused uproar especially among politicians.
Several MCAs termed the move ill-timed and a plot to have the Tachoni community dis-inherited of its ancestral land.
Members of the Tachoni community said they won’t accept the gazettement since they are a minority in Bungoma County and would lose their land and latter their Constituency Webuye East.