Ambassador Francis Muthaura leads all PS's in the tree planting event at Karura Forest
All permanent secretaries gathered for a tree planting event in Karura forest a day after the Earth Day on 23rd April 2010 in a show of unity among all the government ministries in forest conservation. This came just a day after the Prime Minister Right Hon. Raila Odinga led another powerful delegation consisting of government officers and a section of the diplomatic corps to the Mau Forest Complex to mark the Earth Day with tree planting.
The chief guest was the Secretary to the Cabinet and the Head of the Public Service Ambassador Francis Muthuara who stated that planting trees was an investment for the future of the country. He applauded the work being done by KFS in forest management saying that Kenyans were already experiencing the change in forestry management.
Ambassador Muthaura also took the opportunity to direct all government departments at the district level led by the District Commissioners to set aside a day of tree planting each year starting with this year. He also directed that they should identify suitable spaces within their office premises to plant trees. He observed that the government in general and civil servants in particular should take the lead in forest conservation so that the country can reach the target of 10% forest cover by the year 2030.
Ambassador Muthaura also lauded parliament’s role in enacting the Forest Act 2005 which he said made it difficult for anyone to excise or otherwise change forest land for any other use. “It now requires the approval of parliament for one to privatise forest land a requirement that we all know is quite impossible to achieve,” said Mr. Muthaura.
Addressing the same gathering, Hon. Fred Gumo decried land grabbing terming it as responsible for the decline in forest cover in Kenya. He went ahead to mention that Kenyans’ attachment to land should be discouraged as it had lead to serious offences involving the grabbing of public lands and especially forests. He noted that in the new regime, land grabbing had ceased as His Excellency the President did not tolerate the vice.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife Mr. M A M Wa-Mwachai while addressing his colleagues thanked them for finding time to come to Karura for the important and symbolic event. He assured the other permanent secretaries that KFS was doing all it can to correct past mistakes that had seen the destruction of forests in Kenya. “We used to be told that foresters are the worst forest offenders, but that’s no longer the case,” said Mr. Wa-Mwachai.
On his part, the Director KFS Mr. David Mbugua thanked the permanent secretaries for planting trees in Karura and assured them that KFS was going full throttle to sustainably manage Kenya’s forests. He mentioned that there were plans to fence important forests like Karura in order to prevent illegal activities.
In attendance also at the event was the spouse to the British High Commissioner to Kenya Mrs. Alice Macaire who is also the chairperson of the Friends of Karura association. While appreciating the beauty of Kenya’s forests, she said Kenyans should take the lead in the preservation of their forests. “This is your country and these are your forests so preserve them,” she declared.
Report Courtesy of Leakey Sonkoyo