By Dr. Grace Mutua
On the ‘Burning’ issue of Makaa and Environmental Destruction:
We must not be cowered. Let us stand with our Governor. Let’s stand firm for our environment, our community.
This is a war against illegal business and not a tribal war. It doesn’t matter if the lorry belongs to a Mutua, Otieno, Oletipis, Kamau, Mwiti or Arap Too.
What is coming out clearly is that most of the criminals doing the business come from one ” village ” and are hardest hit by this war against illegal business that is ‘killing’ our environment.
Our people are struggling, and have suffered immeasurably due to lack of water and food insecurity.
Look at what has happened to Mumoni hills (our main forest reverve in Ukambani). Cartels have robbed us by felling trees for timber and charcoal without reforestation and without a care. Our hill is now crying of nakedness and one of our major catchment areas has slowly died as we watch.
We know the role of deforestation on access to water. As the chair of our County’s water and agriculture committee, I say that we must remain steadfast and put to an end this illegal activity or the little we have will perish.
Let the charcoal sellers burn charcoal in places far more endowed with trees and forests. I wonder why they chose to rape and rob our dry land of the little that we have while leaving richly endowed and forested regions.
Just to jog our memory- our laws clearly state that….if one is found felling trees on top of Mt. Kenya, they can be shot to death…..just like if found poaching the rare white rhino, regardless of where they come from; and their equipment will be confiscated or destroyed.
You see the connection! Our land and the rare ‘forest’ we have are threatened for extinction by the illegal makaa business. This is happening when the law seemingly is protecting thriving environments in other regions of Kenya while somehow turning a blind eye on the happenings in our dry land of Ukambani. It is indeed time for us as a community to stand together, stand tall, and end this menace once and for all.
Kudos to our governor and all those standing to put this wanton destruction to an end. As Gov. Kibwana put it so well, we, as a community need to support our leaders when they champion our causes. Let us stand together and end this illegal makaa business and let it not be confused with a tribal war. It is, indeed, a war against an illegal activity that touches so much on our livelihoods, our future, and our wellbeing as a community and as a nation.