Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has directed the immediate suspension of Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Implementation Scheme (PELIS) within Kibiku, Ololua, Thogoto and Ngong Road forest stations pending an independent status assessment.
The CS has further directed the chairman Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the Chief Conservator of Forests, to immediately replace all KFS officers currently deployed at the four stations.
“The officers should be replaced immediately and suitable teams assigned,” the CS said in a press release to media house Sunday afternoon.
The sentiments came following massive destruction of forest resources which has been widely reported in the media and highlighted in various social media platform.
Tobiko has gone ahead and also asked KFS to commence the necessary rehabilitation programmes including replanting of indigenous trees from tomorrow morning and ensure total protection of the forest block.
“My office will also receive daily progress reports on this exercise starting today,” the Cabinet Secretary said in the statement.
Two weeks ago the CS named a task force on forest management who were to determine the extent on environmental degradation and also give recommendations.
The Task force would be chaired by Green Belt Movement Chairperson Marion Wakanyi and Environment Institute of Kenya Vice Chairperson Linda Munyao.
Other members include Kenya Association of Manufacturers CEO Phyllis Wakiaga and Isaac Kalua of the Kenya Water Towers Agency.
The taskforce has invited the public to submit their views by Thursday next week.
The taskforce is calling on the public to submit their memoranda and petitions on how the process of conserving the forests should be carried out six days after Deputy President William Ruto unveiled it.
Kenyans and environment stakeholders have until close of business on Thursday next week to submit their views to the joint secretaries office.
The taskforce which has been mandated to determine the scale of illegal logging, destruction and encroachment of public and community forests is also expected to co-ordinate an inclusive stakeholder consultation process at all levels.
This even as Taita Taveta County Government is set to plant more than 1.5 million seedlings during the rainy season.
The Kenya Forest Service has promised to provide funds to upgrade rangers Houses in Taita Taveta County and make sure that they have enough vehicles so that they can offer more services to the community including patrols of the forests.
KFS Director Christopher Gakahu, says the government will also look at training more forest rangers in the area so that they ensure preservation of the forests.