ogiekMau Forest – Kenya – Saturday, 10. August 2014

The Ogiek, the most advanced of the only five aboriginal First Nations in the Republic of Kenya, could celebrate their perseverance in their ancestral homeland – the Mau Forest. More than 1000 genuine Ogiek adults and many more young Ogiek gathered in Mariashoni at the heart of their Mau Forest to celebrate the World Indigenous People’s Day.

Everyone endured the morning’s chilly breeze to participate in the indigenous people’s gathering, since the Ogiek have and continue to have reasons to celebrate. Shortly before midday, the windy, cloudy sky over the Mau Range in the Highlands of Kenya gave way to blessing sun rays, helping to keep the large number of celebrating Ogiek and their visitors warm and joyful for the rest of the day.

Those who came to join the Ogiek had a rough time with the muddy, often impassable roads – another testimony that the Ogiek are as a people still neglected by state and mainstream society. But also the supporters made it finally through by walking the long distances.

The many tales of the long journey the Ogiek have travelled together with their supporters for now over 20 years in the struggle for Ogiek rights and recognition dominated most of the function. Remembering the overcome hardships gave many reasons to the joy of the day.

The well-wishers had all one message “Thank you Ogiek for saving the Water Towers of Mau, Mt. Elgon and Cherangany. You Ogiek have kept the spirit of the struggle for over 20 years alive in spite of the hostile and harsh political and economic environment.”

Together we did celebrated for having stuck to and protected the Ogiek Agenda.

Unfortunately many organizations and groups that have programs and activities in and around the Mau forest shun the scrutiny of the Ogiek elders. The Ogiek meeting therefore also called for an audit and the supervision of all those activities, which often do not benefit the Ogiek nor their natural habitat.

The Ogiek themselves were able to present to their people copies of the:
  1. Livelihood handbook
  2. The genuine Ogiek Peoples Register
  3. Court Judgements and a Court Decree in favour of the Ogiek rights.

The launch of an Ogiek Farm Tree Planting Programme highlighted the self-motivation to continue to enrich and protect the Ogiek homeland environment.

Ogiek elder Towett thanked all those who stood with the Ogiek and supported the struggle for all those years and added: “We want the Ogiek to feel loved, appreciated and cherished in the larger Kenyan society. Help us to achieve this.”

Another similar event will therefore be held in Nakuru Town on the 10. December 2014 to mark the World Human Rights Day. Senior leaders, leading human rights advocates and proactive environmentalists, who support the Ogiek vision, will grace that occasion. That same occasion will also be used to launch and unveil the joint Ogiek – Sengwer Council of Elders. Invitations and programs will be sent in the next couple of weeks.


Friends of the Ogiek People who wish to receive information about the future concept and the invitations can contact:
J.K. Towett of the Ogiek Welfare Council via Joseph Towett <kimaiyo1970[AT]yahoo.com>
or the
Ogiek Support Programme of ECOTERRA Intl. (www.ogiek.org) via thari[AT]ecoterra-international.org
Wellwishers, who like to support and sponsor the OSP please contact africanode[AT]ecoterra.net

– Article free for re-publication under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-ND)




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