THE Same District Commissioner (DC), Ms Rosemary Senyamule, has ordered the arrest of a Mhezi Ward resident, Mr Dickson Msemo, for allegedly cutting down approximately 100 trees around Mhezi water source and degrading the environment.
The DC issued the order while addressing the villages as part of her weekly meeting with them to listen and collect their grievances, a move she said complies with President Dr John Magufuli's directive that requires leaders to help their residents.
"I've heard all your views and concerns related to the environmental degradation especially as a result of some residents you complain to be damaging the Mhezi water source.
I have been made to understand that despite the fine you imposed on him, he refused and now I order for his arrest and remanded until he pays the fine," she said.
The DC was also in the area to join them in a mini collective work (msaragambo), partly as her personal contribution to water project, funded by the Rotary Club of Same. Ms Senyamule further said: "The donors of this project have committed themselves and contributed a lot to make it succeed, but it is very sad seeing some of our colleagues back-pedaling their efforts... a move the government would not tolerate.
"I now order the arrest of the person who has been felling the trees to be a lesson to others who may habour the bad habit also in the future," she added. Briefing the DC further on that, the acting Mhezi Ward Executive Officer (WEO), Ms Mwajuma Suleiman Iddi, said that the suspect was fined by them according to the environmental bylaws, but he refused to pay the fine on ground that the area in question is his ancestral plot and hence belongs to him.
Earlier, the Rotary Club Project Manager, Mr Gilliard Mkumbwa, pointed out that cutting of trees normally affects any water source and the same was discouraged in Mhezi.
"When we started conducting research on this project there were many trees in good shape to preserve the water source, but to our surprise, when we resumed to start implementation, someone had cut down about 100 trees, and this is a big blow to the project," he pointed out.
However, on his part the Rotary Club President, Mr Amon Noel, said following the damage, they embarked on a programme, where they have planted 75 new trees so far. Mr Noel further said that the Mhezi water project would be implemented in two phases at about 240,000 US dollars.
"The project is implemented by the Same Rotary Club, in collaboration with various donors which include the Rotary International, the IowaNoon, Rotary InternationalRotary Foundation, the Same District Government, and the Same District Council among others," he added.