Kitui governor Charity Ngilu, has remained unbowed in the face of increasing pressure from protesters to lift the charcoal ban in her county.
Ngilu, who addressed the media when she presented herself at the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) after she was summoned over alleged incitement that led to ethnic animosity and the burning of property, maintained that the charcoal ban was meant to conserve the environment and was not targeted at maligning any community.
“We are not turning back in this fight against charcoal trade. It does not matter who is protesting or issuing threats. Let them find other places to destroy environment but not Kitui County,” Ngilu said.
Charity Ngilu further stated that a clip circulating online, which formed the basis of allegations of incitement against her, was only meant to caution Kitui residents against being enticed to cut trees by charcoal merchants.
She maintained that she would continue to enforce both the charcoal and sand harvesting ban in Kitui County.
“I’ve a duty as a leader to take decisive measures to protect our environment in order to mitigate perennial droughts and erratic rainfall experienced in this region,” she said.
A truck was burnt last Thursday as it transported charcoal from Mwingi to Nairobi.
The Kitui county government banned the charcoal trade and sand harvesting early this year, citing environmental risks with the governor revealing that charcoal traders transport an average of 200,000 lorries of charcoal outside Kitui every month, which indicates the massive destruction of local forests.
“We have met here today to make this major decision, that we have heard the outcry of our people who are really suffering because rivers are drying up. Our forests are obviously being cleared because of charcoal burning and we have said that time is now for us to take action.And the action that we have agreed upon is that from tonight, from now on, we are not going to have any more charcoal burning, and we are not going to have anymore sand harvesting.” said Ngilu while announcing the ban.