•The Governor spoke during the commemoration of the World Wetlands Day commemoration at Ngomano Wetland in Kitui East on Friday
•The theme of the day; “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing” recognizes wetlands as a critical ecosystem to people and nature
Governor Julius Malombe has pledged to rehabilitate wetlands in Kitui to prevent perennial conflicts between residents of the county and those from neighbouring regions.
The county plans to conserve the wetlands to increase their productivity and minimise encroachments by settlers.
"In Kitui, some wetlands have been a source of conflict between our communities and neighbouring pastoral communities. Equally in wetlands bordering national reserves and parks, there has been marked human-wildlife conflicts,” Malombe said on Friday.
The governor said his administration had put in place mechanisms to rehabilitate, conserve and protect the wetlands.
He spoke at the Ngomano Wetland in Zombe-Mwitika ward in Kitui East subcounty during the commemoration of World Wetlands Day.
Environment executive John Mwendandu and area MCA Laban Malinga were present.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually and globally on February 2. The aim is to raise not only global but local awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and their land.
The governor underscored the need to ensure more availability of water by developing more sources to ease pressure on the search for the vital commodity that breeds conflicts.
Malombe said among the measures taken to curtail conflict was the building of sand dams across all the 40 wards in Kitui to increase water retention by the seasonal rivers for higher accessibility for both domestic and agricultural use.
“Through the Financing Locally-Led Climate Action Programme, the county government of Kitui is doing spring protection and rehabilitation. So far, springs in Mutito and Nuu forest ecosystems have been rehabilitated,” he added.
The other measure, he said, was the planting of water trapping bamboo trees and water catchment rehabilitation. He noted that so far his government had planted bamboo seedlings in both Mumaki and Kalundu River catchment areas to increase water availability.
“Allow me to state that my government is working towards having a framework to conserve and protect our wetlands. In this endeavour, I will encourage and call for the active partnership of the local communities,” Malombe said.
He said this year’s World Wetlands Day theme “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing” recognises wetlands as a critical ecosystem to people and nature, underscoring the intrinsic value of wetland ecosystems and their benefits and services, including contributions to sustainable development and human well-being.
“Active participation of local communities in environmental conservation, including wetlands restoration will create jobs for the local area in line with the government’s development blueprint,” the governor said.