Serenje, Monday (December 18, 2023)

Chief Mailo of the Lala people of Serenje District, Central Province, has rejected an application to grant, by force, a ‘Cord Wood’ harvesting Consent in his Chiefdom.

The Traditional Leader said those issuing threats are wasting time because President Hakainde Hichilema does not support environmental degradation.

He said President Hichilema is committed towards Environmental Protection as can be seen by him signing the Glasgow Leaders Declaration, creation of a Ministry focusing on Environment and shutting down of non – compliant mines.

The Traditional Leader revealed that the Consent was meant to cut trees for charcoal production to sale to manganese processing plants in Serenje District.

He said the targeted area including Icitema Lesa Traditional Forest Reserve is the watershed for Lusiwasi Dam of which any degradation would threaten the future integrity and sustainability of the Dam, thereby denying his subjects the Right to water and forest resources.

Chief Mailo said the dam is important for electricity generation at Lusiwasi Hydro Power Station and supports availability of water for productive use.

He said this at a Traditional Leaders Caucus in Serenje District organised by Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) which is implementing a Resilient Initiatives for Sustainable Environment (RISE) Project Supported by Bread for the World (BFTW) Germany.

Meanwhile, Serenje District Commissioner Paul Masuwa said Chief Mailo did well to reject granting the Cord Wood Consent because his office is not aware of the issue.

Mr. Masuwa said President Hichilema is only promoting afforestation further indicating that any senior Government Official forcing him to sign under duress is on his own.

And CEJ Board Member Emmanuel Mutamba said his Organization remains committed towards providing a platform for effective Dialogue on natural resource governance.

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