Environmentalists and Naivasha residents yesterday woke up to a shocking sight of more than 200 indigenous trees felled overnight by unknown people near Lake Naivasha.
They said the impunity with which the trees were cut down flies in the face of a government ban on logging, which was effected on Tuesday to protect the country’s water towers, was shocking.
A source indicated that officers from Kenya Power and Lighting Company, who were putting up an electricity line through the area, had given the go-ahead to cut the trees, an allegation the firm later denied.
The officer in charge of the Kenya Forest Service and sub-county environment officer who toured the area claimed they were not aware of the illegal exercise.
Lakeview Ward Rep Karanja Mburu, who was among the first on the scene, blamed members of the provincial administration for the destruction. He said he would raise the issue with higher government officers, adding that the area had lost one of its major heritages.
“None of the government officers including the area chief is aware of this exercise which took two days felling more than 150 ingenuous trees near Lake Naivasha,” he said. Mburu said the move was a mockery to the directive issued by Deputy President William Ruto against logging across the country.
“The person who authorised the cutting of these trees claims that he owns the land which is a lie as the land belongs to Nakuru County government,” he said. Mburu identified Naivasha as one of the areas hard hit by the ongoing drought which had been caused by wanton destruction of trees in the last couple of years.
Another local leader Patrick Maina called for disciplinary action against all those involved, terming the acacia yellow trees as crucial to the survival of the nearby lake, which is a tourist attraction. He said the exercise had been going on for the last two days, adding that more trees would have been brought down if members of the public had not raised concern.
“The acacia yellow trees are very crucial in Naivasha but some unscrupulous traders who are keen to make quick money by burning charcoal have been targeting them for years,” he said.