Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has ordered the replacement of all forest officers manning major forests around Nairobi.
The forests include Kibiku, Ololua, Thogoto and Ngong Road forest stations.
“Due to the massive destruction of forest resources. I have today directed the Chairman, Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the Chief Conservator of Forests, to immediately replace all KFS officers currently deployed at the Kibiku, Ololua, Thogoto and Ngong Road forest stations. The officers should be replaced immediately and suitable teams assigned,” he said in a statement.
Tobiko also directed the immediate suspension of the Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Implementation Scheme (PELIS) within the same forest stations pending an independent status assessment.
Further, KFS is directed to commence the necessary rehabilitation programmes including replanting of indigenous trees from tomorrow morning and ensuring total protection of the forest block, he said.
“My office will also receive daily progress reports on this exercise from today.”
Tobiko has formed a 10-member multi-sectoral taskforce to review forestry management in the country.
He said the taskforce will coordinate stakeholder engagements as well undertake a fact-finding survey on forest resources.
The CS assured the membership of the team of the government’s commitment to providing resources needed to enable the task force deliver on its mandate.
He said the government is keen to bring to an end the wanton destruction of forests resources which put the nation’s economic transformation agenda at risk.
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“The government is conscious of the urgent need to provide remedial action and resources to save our forestry resources,” he said.
“The appointment of this Rapid Results Taskforce provides a much-needed foundation for a multi-sectoral action plan and I look forward to receiving their report and recommendations at the earliest opportunity.”
Tobiko said his ministry in collaboration with other relevant ministries, departments, and agencies of both National and County governments have commenced joint operations to enforce a three-month moratorium imposed.
The formation of the task force follows Deputy President William Ruto’s declaration of a three-month moratorium on timber harvesting on Saturday.
Ruto directed the ministry of environment and forestry to constitute a taskforce and prepare a report on forestry management within 14 days.
Kenya has faced drought that has left 3.4 million of its population food insecure with the number projected to rise to 3.9 million in 2018.
Recent reports have shown that water scarcity in Nairobi could persist at least until 2026.