Deputy President William Ruto yesterday shrugged off critics and said his track record on conserving the environment is impeccable.
He unveiled a task force to unearth problems ailing the forest sector. Ruto said matters to do with water catchment areas should not be politicised.
“Degradation and deforestation are serious matters, not for photo ops and publicity stunts as seen in the past. What we have seen in the past is people going to Mau, planting two trees, making big statements,” he said at his Karen residence.
The DP directed the task force to restore the country’s forest resources. He said the task force’s work is not a public relations exercise. The DP added that past events have ended up being a hoax and publicity stunts. Ruto said the task force has a clear mandate.
Some 120,000 acres of indigenous forest have been destroyed. Ruto said trees should be planted on a further three million acres. But to achieve this, sacrifices will have to be made, the DP said.
“To achieve management of forest resources, some sacrifices have to be made. The government is ready, willing and able to make those sacrifices,” he said. “Criticism is part of national discourse.”
Opposition chief Raila Odinga in the past spearheaded the conservation of Mau Forest, the country’s largest water tower.
The government on February 24 suspended all forms of logging. Ruto said all the task force’s recommendations will be implemented to the letter.