CAMEL CARAVAN 5th EDITION: TOBIKO CHALLENGES THE COMMUNITIES TO PROTECT THE EWASO NGIRO RIVER ECOSYSTEM
The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Environment and Forestry Mr. Keriako Tobiko challenged the communities living along the Ewaso Ngiro Ecosystem to protect the Ewaso Ngiro River. He threw the challenge during the final ceremony for 5th edition of Camel Caravan which was celebrated on Friday 9, 2019 at Archer’s Post Bridge. The CS was the Guest of Honour and was accompanied by the leaders from Isiolo, Laikpia and Samburu County among them the MP for Isiolo North.
Seven community representatives spoke on the challenges faced by the community – Protection of the Ewaso Ngiro ecosystem, Peaceful coexistence, Livelihoods, Crocodile Jaw Dam, Sand Harvesting, Charcoal production, Abstraction of water upstream
Responding to the presentations by community representatives he said the communities should not complain or expect solutions from elsewhere. He said “Before you ask what the Government can do, ask what wrong you are doing. It is not the Government which is cutting trees and harvesting the sand unsustainably. What is the role of the community?” He lamented that the human activities are degrading the Water Towers and whenever the Government takes actions – it is politicized. He advised that communities to consider the protection of the environment above tribal or ethnic interests. Rivers are common shared resources and water is a common good – the upstream and the lower streams have same rights to access the vital commodity. Ewaso Ngiro River passes through 10 Counties and Inter-Counties leadership Forum should address the protection of the ecosystem as a matter of priority.
He informed the audience that the Government is preparing a policy which will inform a National Strategy on charcoal production and the current moratorium will be lifted in the near future. The communities will then be able to sustainably use Prosopis Juliflora (Mathenge) tree which continues to be hazard in a number Counties in including Isiolo.
In order to increase forest cover, President Kenyatta has released a Decree where the Country has been tasked to plant 2 Billion tree seedlings by the year 2022. Each County Commissioner has been given a target of planting and caring for 5 Million tree seedlings and each Chief is expected to start a Tree Nursery.
County Commissioners were tasked to convene a meeting for stakeholders within 4 weeks to discuss ways for sustainable use of resources (Charcoal production and sand harvesting). The CSO should support the implementation of agreed road map.