Kenya: Legislators Take Tough Stance on Logging

Trees cut in the Maasai Mau Forest.
1 February 2018

Nairobi — The Natural Resource Environment Parliamentary Committee has vowed to crack the whip on individuals found engaging in massive logging in the country.

Reacting to the ongoing logging in Mt. Kenya region, committee Chair Kareke Mbiuki said the committee will not sit and watch a section of Kenyans engage in what he described as an illegal act.

"This country is facing a serious calamity because for the last few months we have seen massive logging of our forests starting from Mau to Mount Kenya forest to the Aberdares," said Mbiuki moments after the election of Ijara MP Sophia Noor who was elected as Vice Chair to the committee.

In a recent article published in one of the local dailies, a row between saw millers and conservationists in Mt. Kenya over commercial logging escalated after the former threatened to sue the latter.

Timber Manufacturers Association threatened to sue conservationists for defamation insisting their actions of logging are fully legal.

Mbiuki, the Maara lawmaker, however insists that acts carried out by such loggers are illegal and they should be stopped.

On Thursday, Mbiuki who certified the matter as urgent instructed the Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai to send a summon letter to CS Ministry of Environment and Forestry to explain to the committee what steps the Ministry was taking about the matter.

"The issue of logging is extremely very emotive and this country is facing a serious challenge of the climate change and therefore I am instructing the Clerk to immediately write a letter to the Ministry so that they can come before us and update us on the status of the issues of forest logging and restoration," said Mbiuki.

Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali who also serves as a member to the committee urged his colleagues to immediately address the issue without delay.

"I am aware we are meant to be on recess but I am also aware that committees are sitting and Chair this is one issue that we cannot wait until we resume. Logging is a very serious issue because at the moment our forest cover in the country is very low and if we leave this to continue we will start addressing the issue when it will be too late," said Washiali.

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