Taita Taveta wants forest officers fired

Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime speaks on Monday last week. He told KWS offi cials to stop torturing residents and remove thousands of livestock grazing illegally in Tsavo West National Park /RAPHAELMWADIME
Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime speaks on Monday last week. He told KWS offi cials to stop torturing residents and remove thousands of livestock grazing illegally in Tsavo West National Park /RAPHAELMWADIME

The Taita Taveta government has demanded the immediate interdiction of corrupt Kenya Forest Service officers.

On Monday the county said senior KFS officials collude with money-hungry charcoal and timber dealers to wipe out its forests. The county assembly Environment and Natural Resources Committee, led by chairman Raymond Mwangola, wants KFS director general Emilio Mugo, senior deputy director Esau Omolo and director Patrick Kariuki to act swiftly against the officials.

Two weeks ago, hundreds of residents stormed the KFS offices in Wundanyi to protest against indiscriminate felling of indigenous trees.

County Environment and Natural Resources executive Alexander Mwangeka said unscrupulous KFS officials and influential timber and charcoal dealers act with impunity.

MCAs have given the national government a seven-day ultimatum to take action against the forest conservators and managers. The leaders said forest fires that erupted in Kasighau, Ngangao, Mbololo, Mwambirwa and Susu forests are cover-ups by the officials.

Last Thursday, Mwangola told the National Assembly Environment and Natural Resources Committee members in Mwatate that indigenous trees on Kambanga and Mwananchi ranches were harvested by a cartel well-known to the KFS team.

“The trees are felled by well-connected charcoal dealers and ferried to Voi and Mombasa,” he said.