, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – According to Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko a task force that will be mandated with the responsibility of protecting forests and water towers will be gazetted Tuesday.
Speaking after having a consultative meeting with Kenya Forest Service Board members on Monday, Tobiko said the task force will have representatives from all the agencies.
“The task force is a multi agency and inter- ministerial which also includes the civil society and environmental activists and they will conduct their affairs in open there is not going to be any cover up, have asked the service to do its bit and marshal all resources they have in terms of personnel and equipments and avail them to the task force,” said Tobiko.
The task force will have members not exceeding 15 as per the Salaries and Remuneration Commission regulations.
Tobiko said those are part of the measures that have been put in place to ensure that forests are protected in the wake of widespread destruction that has led to drought and acute water shortage.
Last week, the government suspended logging for three months to allow reassessment of forest cover in the country.
Tobiko directed the Kenya Forest Service board to monitor the enforcement and ensure that it’s followed to the letter.
“The suspension must be enforced relentlessly and ruthlessly, I will personally join the members on the ground in monitoring the enforcement,” said Tobiko.
On issues of capacity and resources, Tobiko assured the board that the ministry will do the necessary to ensure that Kenya Forest Service is capacitated.
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, 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 put on notice rogue Kenya Forest officers who collude with millers to clear forests saying they will be prosecuted.
He also warned millers who harvest trees beyond the required quarters saying he will have their licenses cancelled.