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Residents Lauded For Conserving Environment, NGO Says We’re Here To Stay

Dec 13, 2023 #CIPDP, #Climate change, #NGO
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By Isabella Maua

Residents of Mt. Elgon in Bungoma County have been lauded for supporting environmental conservative initiatives, especially in protecting the forest, which serves as a water catchment area.

In his speech during the Jamhuri Day celebrations, Kaptama MCA and former Leader of Majority at the County Assembly, Francis Chemion, exemplified the recent road race debut, which was vastly embraced by wananchi of all ages.

“There are many examples I would give to show your undeterred support to conserve our precious mountain vegetation, but the Mt. Elgon Road Race is undoubtedly outstanding; seeing children and the elderly alike take part in the race was so fulfilling,” Chemion complimented.

He further accentuated the fact that the road race will be an annual event, challenging government at all levels to come forth and support the initiative through funding.

“Chepkitale Indigenous People Development Project needs our support at all costs to bring their dream to realization; we must restore our forest and add value to our exemplary mountain, which is a great tourist attraction site,” observed Chemion.

Martin Simotwo, one of the directors at CIPDP, also noted that the government has set aside 40 billion shillings to support cash crop projects including tea, coffee, and trees for reforestation.

A group of local residents, however, held contradictory views, highlighting that the CIPDP is a partisan organization with the malicious intention of dividing the residents of Mt. Elgon and sabotaging the current leadership.

“We’re so skeptical about this NGO; we think they’re doing more harm than good to the community of Mt. Elgon. First, they incited the eviction of grazers from the forest, and now they want to abuse their position in society to sabotage other communities within,” reported a section of complainants.

Peter Kitelo, CIPDP Executive Director, in a rejoinder, articulately stated that the allegations against them are based on pure ignorance and are baseless.

“Leaders of this region should cease fighting non-governmental organizations that come up to support wananchi; this is just another example of how they have jeopardized the functionality of such organizations hitherto,” bemoaned Kitelo.

He further elucidated that the eviction of grazers and even cultivators in the forest had nothing to do with the organization since it was issued under presidential order.

“The Chepkitale fraternity, which is nonpartisan, won the court case in 2022, and it’s in the public domain that the land they occupy is rightfully theirs; we as the CIPDP are here to stay, and we shall not leave Mt. Elgon since we’re dedicated to service to humanity,” upheld Kitelo.

Chepkitale Indigenous People Development Project remains the only non-governmental organization in Mt. Elgon, and the leadership has the ball in their court to amicably coexist with them or lose them like many others hitherto, including USAID and Action Aid.

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