The protection of the water catchment land- Maasai Mau forest took center stage during the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya campaigns in Narok that were led by the coalition’s presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Odinga who addressed rallies in Aitong area in Narok West Sub County and Suswa trading center in Narok East Sub County said his administration will jealously guard the forestland from any form of invasion if elected Kenya’s fifth president on 9th August.
The former premier who received a warm welcome from a charged crowd recalled how he was ridiculed to an extent of losing politically in 2013 elections because of committing to protect the Mau forest, reiterating that his ambition to conserve the forest has not changed.
“You remember I said I better go back to my backyard Kibra to sell Mandazi instead of watching the Mau being destroyed. It’s true I lost politically, but the effects of destroying the forest were felt in many counties,” said Odinga.
On Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Odinga said once elected, he will ensure that the revenue collected from the reserve is enjoyed by the Narok residents adding that no private individuals will be allowed to manage the reserve.
Odinga who was accompanied by a host of leaders aligned to the coalition said the Maa people should fully benefit from the revenue that comes from the Mara because they are the custodians of the game reserve.
His sentiments were echoed by Narok North Member of Parliament Moitalel Ole Kenta who is vying for the gubernatorial seat using the ODM ticket.
Ole Kenta said he will scale-up the conservation of Maasai Mau forest to make it a tourist attraction center, promising never to allow anyone to enter in the forest again if elected governor.
“We the Maa people support the former Prime Minister because he stood with us to protect the Mau forest. He has proved to be a close friend to the Maasai people and we are very grateful,” said Ole Kenta.
Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina promised the aspiring president that the Maa community will vote for him because he has stood to protect the environment from destruction. Ole Kina asked Odinga to create job opportunities for the many jobless youths in the county if he win the presidency.
In Aitong, Odinga held a political rally at the home of incumbent Mara Ward Member of County Assembly Tipapa Kirrokor (Joho) who is vying for Narok West MP position.
The local leaders who attended the rally included incumbent Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella who is vying for the senatorial seat, Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli, and Jubilee Women Representative candidate Jane Nampaso.
Narok county is mainly dominated by the Maa community and has 398, 700 registered voters.
In the previous elections, Odinga who was vying on a NASA ticket gunned slightly more votes than his then competitor Uhuru Kenyatta who was vying on a Jubilee ticket.