3 June 2006

Kenya: Forest Act to Be Enforced, Says Kibwana

Nairobi — The Forest Act 2005 will be enforced from early next year, Environment minister Kivutha Kibwana has said.

Kibwana said the formation of the Kenya Forest Service was meant to make the Forest Department autonomous.

He said an inter-ministerial forests reform steering committee had been formed to look into ways of enforcing the Act.

He said the steering committee membership included researchers, representatives of non-governmental organisations, development partners and the timber industry.

In a speech read by his Permanent-Secretary, Prof George Khroda, at the Kenya Forestry College, Londiani, during a graduation, the minister said KFS would be established by next January.

"The Act provides for the active participation of stakeholders in forest management and will be operational by early next year," he said.

He said efforts to stop the destruction of forests were frustrated by corrupt Government officials.

"My ministry is working round the clock to ensure the perpetrators of illegal logging are punished in accordance with the law," he said.

He warned errant officials that logging was not allowed in gazetted forests and promised that measures would be taken to end the practice.

Kipkelion MP Dr Sammy Ruto, Chief Conservator of Forests DK Mbugua, Kefri Director Paul Konuche and Kericho DC Mohammed Billock attended the ceremony.

Elsewhere, Machakos DC Osman Warfa has expressed concern over logging in the district.

Warfa said that the destruction of forests threatens the environment.

He ordered forest officers to ensure that felling trees in Government forests was checked.

He said that those found engaging in the activity would be arrested and prosecuted.

He added that charcoal burning was threatening indigenous trees.

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