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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,30TH APRIL 2018-A task-force commissioned to review forestry management following a declaration of a three-month moratorium on logging has handed over its report to the deputy president William Ruto.The taskforce headed by Marion Kamau recommends establishment of a caretaker management team, pending the constitution of a new forests board.
The task-force has also recommended prosecution of Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officials culpable of mismanaging forests.
“We recommend immediate commencement of investigations and possible prosecution of all criminal-related findings that touch on former KFS board members and staff implicated in malpractices,” Kamau said on Monday when she led members of the task-force in handing over their report to the Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, Keriako Tobiko.
In a detailed recommendations contained in the report, the task-force has also called for the review of forest zoning to establish a core conservation zone to be surrounded by a multiple-users buffer zone the width of which should not exceed 500 meters.
Tobiko assured the task-force of the ministry’s commitment to implement the report and bring to book those named in its report.
“The Deputy President, William Ruto, was categorical that this report has got no shelve to be kept therefore the issue of it gathering dust does not even arise. I reiterate that the findings of this task-force will be implemented at the shortest time possible,” he said.
Speaking while meeting members of the task-force at his Karen residence earlier in the day, Ruto called for “coherent and punitive measures” to bring to an end degradation of forests in the country.
“I commit to you that the report’s recommendations will be implemented. I appreciate the fact that some decisions therein would be pretty difficult to make but they will have to be done,” said the Deputy President.
He said the government was considering enlisting the services of National Youth Service in an aggressive exercise geared towards replanting indigenous tree for at least three years.
Ruto said the exercise will go a long way in supplementing the ongoing national tree planting campaign whose target is to have the country’s forest cover regenerate.
The Marion Kamau-led taskforce was gazetted on February 26 following Ruto’s declaration of a three-month moratorium on timber harvesting on February 24.
Other members of the special task force which was given two weeks to present a report are Environment Institute of Kenya Vice Chairperson, Linda Munyao, Rhino Ark Charitable Trust Executive Director, Christian Lambrechts, Kenya Association of Manufacturers chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga, and Kenya Water Towers Agency Chairperson, Isaac Kalua among others.