Sengwer Community Demand Recognition
Members of the Sengwer community on Monday held protests seeking recognition and ancestral rights in the country.
The protesters presented a petition to the president’s office at Harambee House seeking to be recognized as an indigenous community living in the Embobut forest.
They also want the government to engage them as stakeholders in an effort to conserve the Embobut forest.
The petition had 270,000 signatures of community members, friends and neighbours who support the community to be given access to the 21,000 hectares Embobut forest.
Speaking to Ghetto Radio News, one of the community members Isaac Kiprono Rotich was on record that they are the Sengwer people are not criminals in the forest as perceived.
“We are not criminals in the forest, we were born in the forest and our lives are pinned there. We do plant trees, and generally conserve the Embobut forest because it is where we call home” said Rotich.
The community has faced numerous forceful evictions including the one recently in 2018 that led to the death of one person, Robert Kiprotich a member of the community, was allegedly shot dead inside the forest triggering the European Union (EU) to suspend funding for a water tower conservation project .
The Sh 3.6 billion EU project was supposed to protect water catchment areas in Mount Elgon and Cherangany Hills, which provide water to 11 counties in the Rift Valley region.