Gov’t to axe illegal Mukula, Timber traders

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 12:16:23 +0000

 

BY OSCAR MALIPENGA

LANDS minister Jean Kapata has vowed to have all the illegal Mukula and Timber traders across country arrested and prosecuted following a directive by President Edgar Lungu.

On Friday, President Lungu ordered that traders involved in illegal extraction of timber and other forestry-related activities must all be arrested.

President Lungu said he was aware that there was a lot of illegal harvesting of timber across the country, resulting in reduced forest cover.

The Head of State revealed that he was saddened by the fact that between 2000 and 2014 Zambia lost an average of 276,021 hectares of forest per year.

Reacting to President Lungu’s directive, Ms Jean Kapata who is Mandevu Patriotic Front (PF) member of Parliament and Central Committee chairperson for elections, vowed to have all the illegal Mukula and Timber traders arrested and prosecuted as soon as possible.

“President Lungu has empowered me to act sternly on people that are illegally cutting Mukula, Timba and others trees.

“There will be no sacred cows anybody whatever their positions in society as long as they are illegally cutting trees, they will be arrested and prosecuted,” Ms Kapata said.

She explained that from the time she become lands minister she had been studying what had been going in the Mukula tree harvesting.

“I will be calling a stakeholders meeting next week on Thursday with the provincial minister to discuss on the wat forward in the permits of Mukula,” she said.

Ms Kapata said after holding a meeting in Lusaka she would travel to all the ten provinces to engage the traditional leaders because they were also stakeholders in the issue.

“We are going to work in collaboration with the ministry of tourism who have wild life officers and the ministry of fisheries who have the fisheries officers on the ground so that where there is no forest ranger fisheries officer can look after animals, fish as well as the trees,” Ms Kapata said.

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