Published: Sunday 31 March 2002

With an aim to root out corruption, Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi has banned allocation of public land to individuals. Environmental groups have welcomed the ban but expressed scepticism about its effective implementation as that would affect a key channel of cash ahead of the forthcoming general elections.

Earlier, in a statement, Moi said he was aware of grave irregularities in the allocation and administration of public land. In some instances, government and trust land had been allocated illegally, he alleged and added, "This situation has led to serious depletion of our forests and the loss of land reserved for public." However, opposition activists allege that Moi's government has in the past allotted forestland to politicians ahead of elections to get their votes.

"I hope that the statement will be implemented, and it is not a political gimmick," said Michael Gachanja of Kenya Forest Working Group, a non governmental organisation (ngo).

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