Kenya: DP Ruto Assures Forestry Taskforce of Financial, Political Backing

Trees cut in the Maasai Mau Forest.

Nairobi — Deputy President William Ruto has assured the taskforce meant to review forestry management in the country of both financial and political support from the government.

Speaking during the launch of the taskforce at his Karen residence Monday, Deputy President Ruto stressed the need for the government to relook at the management of the country's forest cover since the destruction of tree cover would be disastrous in the long run.

He pledged that the government will implement the recommendations of the taskforce which among other things is to determine whether the ban on logging can be extended further and stating that this was not a public relations exercise.

"I have told this team that you have the support of the President, myself, the government of Kenya, you have our good will and judging from the public, you have every Kenyan behind you in recommending to us the best way of managing our forest resources and our environment," he stated.

He stated that the government has seen the urgency in dealing with the challenge of management of forest resources and pointed out that the task force will plant 1,000 trees as part of the commencement of its duties.

"The government is approaching this issue of forest and water towers conservation with an open mind. We understand there is a real commerce built around our forests but we will explore alternative options if need be," he said.

He stated that in order to reverse the trend harming our environment, some sacrifices have to be made, even by the industry that relies on the forests.

He explained that there are almost 3 million acres of land that need to be planted with trees and close to 120,000 acres of plantation forest with no trees.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko indicated that the ban has been largely successful and stated that this will address the drying up of rivers and depletion of resources in the country.

"I am pleased to announce that the reports I have been getting on the ground from the Kenya Forest service and all agencies is that in spite of some challenges, the moratorium enforcement has been largely successful that they are under strict instruction to enforce that moratorium until such a time that it is lifted," he explained.

The Cabinet Secretary gazetted the 10 member multi-sectoral taskforce headed by the Green Belt Movement Chairperson, Marion Wakanyi Kamau last week.

Other members of the special taskforce are Environment Institute of Kenya Vice Chairperson, Linda Munyao, Rhino Ark Charitable Trust Executive Director, Christian Lambrechts, Kenya Association of Manufacturers chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga, and Kenya Water Towers Agency Chairman, Isaac Kalua.

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