A sack of charcoal in Kajiado now costs up to Sh5,000 following Governor Joseph ole Lenku’s ban on the trade two weeks ago.
A spot check found that a sack once cost Sh600 in Maili Tisa, Mile 46 and Bissil but is now going for Sh3,000. The same quantity cost Sh1,700 in Kitengela but buyers must now part with Sh5,000.
Charcoal from Kajiado is of the best quality which equals that from West Pokot and Turkana.
But it is made from Acacia trees which take hundreds of years to mature – environmental conservation is the reason why Deputy President has banned logging in all of Kenya’s forests while Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has also enforced a strict ban.
Most homes in the middle and lower classes depend on charcoal but will resort to gas with the higher costs. While banning the trade, Lenku announced that the county had taken measures to stop the rampant felling of trees.
The Governor formed a multi-agency team of county environment officials, Kenya Forest Service officers and APs and ordered it to crack down on the illegal burning of charcoal, its transportation and the cutting of trees for commercial purposes.
Last week, Lenku ordered that all vehicles found transporting charcoal or timber be impounded and owners charged in court. At least two transporters had lost their vehicles by Friday.
Elvis Omari’s Isuzu truck, registration KCE 317M, was impounded after officers found him with 88 bags of charcoal along Kajiado-Namanga high way on Thursday.
He was arraigned in court and fined 60,000 or face a jail term for the offence. It was alleged that his lorry is normally used for distributing milk in the outskirts of Kajiado town.
Consumers havel cried foul saying the county did not give sufficient notice before enforcing the rules.