Kilimanjaro regional commissioner Leonidas Gama has stood firm against some dishonest officials of the Kilimanjaro National Park (Kinapa) reportedly harvesting forests inside the park.
The RC was irritated after receiving information from impeccable sources that a mountain forest inside the reserve had been damaged by people engaging in illegal harvesting of logs.
He was particularly shocked by reports that some Kinapa officials had refused to offer cooperation in ongoing efforts to curb deforestation and other illegal businesses inside the park.
Gama revealed this during the regional advisory committee meeting that involved regional leaders, district officials and developmental stakeholders, who convened to discuss environmental damage in reserves founding in the region, including Mt Kilimanjaro.
According to the report entitled: Resource Evaluation Manager and the Chairperson of Kigoda cha Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Environment and Global Warming, there is excessive harvesting of trees inside the reserves.
A resident concerned about the damage being done inside the Kinapa, Theodora Aloyce, accused some Kinapa officials of cooperating with poachers and village leaders in harvesting the forests.
“In Rombo there are leaders, who have turned harvesting of forests as ‘money spinners’. At times, we receive information of people harvesting trees and inform the police, but they leak the information and the culprits escape,” he said.
The RC said Kinapa, as an important institute for conserving the reserves, is supposed to stand by the law and hold all those illegally harvesting trees responsible because the sources of water in the reserves depend on the forest.
The MP for Rombo, Joseph Selasini, said some political leaders were using their positions to destroy the environment since he once caught a councillor with a group of eight people coming from the forest with a ‘chain saw’ whose use has been banned.
“In the region, there is also a tendency of covering up for leaders…Leaders are being bribed and to break the law…our police officials are not faithful at all,” he said.
Rombo district commissioner Peter Toima said there are two groups in the district that call themselves ‘Alshabib’ and ‘Mungiki’ that have been harvesting forests with impunity.
Same district commissioner Ibrahim Marwa said the government should review the law governing forest reserves because the present one is not effective.