Friday, December 12, 2003
Forests boss is sent packing
By JEFF OTIENO
The chief conservator of
forests has been sacked.
Mr Gideon Gathara failed
to attend an assessment interview at the Environment ministry
headquarters in Nairobi.
The interviews began
last month and ended last week. They were conducted by a panel of
officials from the ministry, the Office of the President and the
Directorate of Personnel Management.
"We interviewed the
last officer on Thursday, but the chief conservator failed to turn
up. In my opinion, he has lost his job," the Environment
minister Newton Kulundu told journalists yesterday after an aerial
view of the Mau forest.
The minister said he
would soon receive a report from the panel on 828 forestry
officers sent on compulsory leave in October.
"Based on the
report, the ministry will decide on the number to retain and those
to dismiss," he added. Some had played a role in the
destruction forests and had to face the law.
At the same time, the
minister instructed the Rift Valley provincial administration to
prosecute any District Officer or chief condoning or abetting
charcoal burning. He expressed concern over the rate at which
forests were being destroyed.
He noted, for example,
that Mau had lost 65,000 hectares in the last two years. "We
shall repossess all forest land dished out illegally by the former
regime," Dr Kulundu said.
In 1963, Mau covered
177,000 hectares, but 40 years later, only 111,000 are left.
Dr Kulundu said Lake
Nakuru was also threatened because the rivers feeding it had dried
Dr Kulundu said the
forest cover, which stood at 13 per cent in 1963, had decline to
1.7 per cent. Kenya needed about Sh95 billion to increase the
cover to the internationally accepted standard of 10 per cent in
the next seven years, he said.
Link : http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/12122003/News/News1212200372.html