, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 24 – The government has suspended, with immediate effect, logging in the country for a period of 90 days to allow reassessment of the forest cover in the country, in the wake of widespread destruction of forest cover that has led to acute was crisis.
Deputy President William Ruto said the situation, if not checked, threatened to lead to a severe drought in some parts of the country.
“Deforestation, degradation and encroachment of water towers and other catchment areas coupled with uncontrolled human activities including wanton logging have threatened and undermined our country’s capability to ensure food security,” he said Saturday, in a statement from his office, “This situation poses a threat to the achievement of the big four agenda items of the Jubilee Government.”
Ministry of Environment and Forestry has been tasked to come up with a report within 14 days on how possible to avert the water crisis in the country.
The suspension follows a plea from the National Assembly Environment and Natural Resource Committee which called for the ban until a proper audit is done to protect the forests from further destruction.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, while assuming office for his second and final term, categorically stated that food security and affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing were the four major issues to be focused on.
On Friday, the government said that it would spend a total of Sh3.8 billion shillings to address the issue of drought in the country.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, in a press briefing, said that a huge portion of the monies would go towards the most hit parts of the country where many are facing starvation.
The effects of logging have also been extensively captured in a report released recently by the Kenya Water Agency who called for immediate resolutions on how the issue can be addressed.
In the report presented to the Cabinet Secretary Environment and Natural Resources Keriako Tobiko on Friday, the ministry was tasked to speedily come up with sufficient policies that will salvage the situation.
Some of the recommendations in the report include developing water towers conservation strategy, water towers to be fenced with bamboo, increase capacity to oversee and manage water towers at all levels, and promote sustainable charcoal production among others.
Tobiko has since warned millers who harvest trees beyond the required quarters saying that drastic measures would befall them like revoking their licenses.