By Our Reporter
Narok County has joined Kitui and Kajiado counties in banning charcoal burning and transportation, illegal logging and ordered prosecution of unscrupulous traders engaged in the outlawed trade in the county’s main forests.
Following the recent drought situation in the country that has also affected the semi-arid county, the County Government seems to be reacting after witnessing the catastrophic impacts of deforestation.
Narok Governor Samuel Tunai and area County Commissioner George Natembeya who met the county security team comprising the police, Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and County rangers vowed to end forest destruction in the county.
Among the forests worst affected by the charcoal burning and illegal logging include the larger Mau forest complex, Nyakweri, Enoosubukia, and parts of Suswa where the charcoal business syndicate operates.
“Illegal logging and charcoal burning has reached an alarming rate and as the county and National Government after deliberations it has been resolved to ban the illegal activities that had led to destruction of our major forests,” observed Governor Tunai.
The Governor who downplayed claims of coping the Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu who earlier banned the illegal trade in his county regretted that Narok was increasingly becoming the only source of charcoal to neighboring counties.
He said: “It is sad that everyday about 1,000 bags of charcoal is ferried from Nyakweri and Mau forests with hundreds of heavy-laden donkeys, motorbikes and lorries headed to counties such as Nairobi, Kisii, Kisumu and even South Sudan.This must stop.”
Mr Tunai reiterated that main rivers such as Mara River which is the only source of water for wildlife in the world-famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve was fast drying up hence the need to boost the forest cover as stipulated by the County Forest Management Act of 2017.
Mr Natembeya put the forest-product cartels on notice, saying there should be no further debate on the ban.
“We are going to conduct the operation in a humane but strict manner. This is a crisis occasioned by wanton destruction of county’s forests and we are going to stop at nothing to crack the illegal trade,” said the commissioner.
Governor Tunai, however, clarified that they were not targeting any community, tribe, clan in the operation and urged locals to support the initiative.