Then, in 1904, the government at the insistence of some European settlers reached an agreement with the Maasai in the Rift Valley for these Maasai to move to a special northern reserve on the Laikipia Plateau. Other members of the tribe live on a reserve to the south between the Tanganjika border and the Ngong Hills. European settlers could then take over the territory of the Naivasha Rift Valley in Solai for agriculture. In 1912, however, the government changed its policy and convinced some Maasai leaders to seize Laikipia in a heavily expanded southern section with the Loita Plains. « I have the impression that we are putting everyone around a table and interpreting the Maasai agreements correctly and starting the reconciliation process. » It is interesting to note that Mr Forrester focuses on the environmental aspect of Laikipia, his parents` house, while neglecting the most important issues of injustice, human rights, official apologies and the cancellation of the contractual promises that are dealt with in the first place in my book. I quote senior British officials who, at the time, expressed serious concerns about the likely consequences of trampling on African land rights (it was a protectorate, remember, supposedly dedicated to the protection of « indigenous people »). For example, in 1904, before the first forced move, Charles Hobley wrote, « Masai rights are a very real thing. » That same year, Frederick Jackson wrote in a memo: « The Masai will never cause us serious problems as long as we treat it fairly, and will not deprive them of its best favourite pastures, those close to Lake Naivasha. » Commissioner Sir Charles Eliot also initially rejected the idea of Maasai`s reserves. It was Hobley, not just any left agitator, who devised plans to compensate Maasai for the loss of his Rift Valley pastures – for the settlers, precisely because years of grazing had improved them. With regard to Mr Forrester`s environmental issues, I respond in a new article to similar criticisms. I will not repeat the arguments here; The article is freely searchable online. Can I refer readers to a more complete answer that defies the ahistoricity of this type of criticism in Swieflum and discusses the role of perception, social memory and memory constructions in understanding history? In short, the environment of Laikipia today (or whenever he grew up) cannot be compared to that of the late 19th or early 20th century; We can`t do that in the western district of Narok either. Over time, these regions have undergone enormous technological and climate change that has changed the way different communities are able to use their resources.
Some diseases are rampant today, which were relatively unknown in the past; I describe in detail the etiology of East Coast Fever (ECF) – most likely introduced and spread by laikipia settlers (2006: 122). Before limiting themselves to reserves, Africans also addressed the challenges of disease by moving away from certain areas. The diseases observed by Thomson (OP 93, p.26, para. 3) that devastated this region in the 1880s-1890s were not the ones I am talking about in the first place (ECF and malaria), but bovine plague, bovine neurosis and smallpox. With regard to water supply, a 1904 agricultural report described Laikipia as a « district that will probably never suffer from drought » (F02/839, National Archives). It is clear that the situation has changed radically. Overall, one cannot compare how commercial and transhumant herders exploit and perceive land and resources; they are fundamentally different. Remembering their lost northern pastures, the ancient Maasai refer to all their ancient territory, not just Laikipie. Recent requests from Europeans on the land had focused on the subject, with the East African Union recently claiming 320,000 hectares, Lord Delamere 100,000 hectares and Robert Chamberlain and A.