President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration risks losing Ksh3.6 billion in foreign funding following a standoff over evictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The European Union (EU) has laid out conditions to be met by the state before funds are released for environmental conservation efforts.
The EU gave the state till September 2020 to negotiate with Sengwer community which has been accused of encroaching on the Embobut Forest in Elgeyo-Marakwet County.
The funding was expected to aid conservation efforts of the forest but the EU raised concerns that some 10,000 acres were hived off the original 29,000 acres.
Late May talks between the government and the community collapsed, a situation that puts the possibility of the government securing the funds in limbo.
The meeting was attended by Environment Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo and EU Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue but the parties failed to reach an agreement forcing the state to reschedule for future talks.
In his address, the EU Ambassador noted that if the two parties fail to reach an agreement, the money would be channeled to different projects, some of which may not be in Kenya.
“It is worth noting that the EU funding for Kenya will expire by September 20, 2020.
“The EU will have no option but to allocate the money to other programmes, including helping member countries combat Covid-19,” stated Mordue.
The ambassador further noted that the stand-off had set back the EU’s conservation efforts across the country.
Previously, the state attempted to drive off the indigenous community from the land after paying off some 2,800 evictees Ksh410,000 each to vacate.
The community, however, lamented that it would be losing its heritage when it departs. The community further lamented that the state failed to answer why they had been brutalised during evictions.