While touring Kitui county, Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i on Wednesday banned production and transportation of charcoal in the region.
Four years ago, the Kitui County Assembly passed the Kitui County Charcoal Management Act.
In January 2018, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu banned trade in charcoal outright. The reason for the ban is incontestable – logging and felling of trees for charcoal have devastated the fragile Kitui ecosystem and environment.
“I have directed the county and regional security teams to mount operations to apprehend those involved in these activities,” Matiang’i said.
Matiang’i promised to support Governor Charity Ngilu to weed out charcoal producers in the county.
Last years ban saw transporters in Kiambu County hold protests demanding Mrs Ngilu’s arrest for allegedly inciting youth to burn lorries transporting charcoal in Kitui.
They lit bonfires at Kwambira area along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway and blocked the road with logs, alleging that Governor Ngilu was preaching negative ethnicity.
The burning of the lorry belonging to Mr David Kariuki took place at Kanyonyoo in Kitui on February 8.
But what has irked the transporters is a short video that was circulated on social media, in which Ms Ngilu is alleged to be telling Kitui people to burn all vehicles ferrying charcoal.
In Kitui, a mature acacia tree can yield up to 15 bags of charcoal, depending on how one contains oxygen intake into the kiln.
This most common method of charcoal burning, which has been practised for years. It is wasteful since more than 85 per cent of wood is lost in the process.
“I have had an opportunity to inspect KICOTEC factory and other projects which the Governor Ngilu is undertaking in this county.
The National Government will continue supporting her in advancing the impressive work she is doing in line with the Big Four Agenda,” Matiang’i said while inspecting Kitui County Textile Centre (KICOTEC), .
The Sh20 million factory has employed over 600 workers.
CS Matiang’i was accompanied by his health counterpart Sicily Kariuki.