Mulanje Chief Accuses Forestry Officers of Fueling Deforestation

Makosana Makosana - pic by Hastings Jimani

Traditional Authority Sunganinzeru of Mulanje District has blamed forestry officers for continued deforestation in Mulanje Mountain Biosphere Reserve and rivers as they issue general receipts and conveyance certificates to forest products dealers dubiously.

The T/A speaking on Wednesday when Secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change James Ali visited Bondo Mini Grid in the district said their hands are tied to act on people that have government documents.

“Unless these forestry officers are disciplined especially on issuance of government documents, the issue of wanton cutting down of trees will not stop,” said a visibly emotional chief.

But Acting District Forestry Officer Agnes Makosana told Zodiak Online that village heads are consulted when issuing the documents only that there is communication breakdown between the T/A and his subordinates.

“As a forest department, we are doing our best to protect the mountain because we have control over it but for local forests, we ask chiefs to use their bylaws in preserving these forests,” said Makosana.

Meanwhile Mr. Ali says a stakeholders meeting will soon be convened to discuss the matter.

“I think finger pointing will not help in addressing the problem but still as a ministry we will investigate the matter and discipline the officers found issuing the documents dubiously,” said Ali.

According to Samuel Mambo, the Operations Manager of Mulanje Electricity Generation Agency (MEGA), a project that is managing Bondo hydroelectric scheme, deforestation is a threat to generation of electricity at the scheme.

Bondo hydroelectric scheme is generating 330 kilowatts and so far 2000 structures including dwelling houses, business structures like maize mills, institutions like schools and Bondo health centre have been connected.

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