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Octogenarian Calls for Effective Forest Management

Forest cover has been depleted overtime owing to the booming populations and demand for construction materials sourced from trees.

Tree cover is on a declining path at an alarming rate risking extinction of future generations as present and past generations participated in destruction of natural resources including trees and forest cover. Trees help in carbon capture reverting global warming, droughts, imminent desertification the list is endless.

Community forests have been unsustainable over the years and tree numbers keep declining due to corruption and uncontrolled logging. Private forests seem a new way for climate change conscious individuals to volunteer their land for forestry as they commit to securing a green future.

A spot check by KNA revealed the willingness of individuals to surrender their land for afforestation accompanied by realistic policy, legal and regulatory framework to guarantee land ownership for fear of dispossession of their land by corrupt government officers.

Felista Mutave, an octogenarian has lived to see climate change over the last over 80 years. She is a founding member of KAMUTI a CBO responsible for planting and taking care of trees during events and special occasions including, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and burials in honour of dearly departed and once beloved family members, neighbours and friends.

Mutave is fluent in English and Swahili despite her advanced age. Her CBO abbreviated KAMUTI envisions a green forested Kenya and thus the acronym for Kenya Afforestation Management and Utilization of Trees Initiative (KAMUTI)

In Kenya, the name KAMUTI is associated with magical powers to bring miraculous happenings just as we wish to miraculously see a magical restoration of our forests and flowing rivers which have been extinct in the past decades in the country.

It’s against this background that inspired the name KAMUTI CBO since members are willing and ready to donate their land for experimental and worthwhile initiatives to restore nature to its glorious past guaranteeing our future generations a livable ecosystem.

“KAMUTI is a local name for a tree among the Kamba community in Kenya and what a better way than to live the meaning of this name by planting and taking care of trees,” explained Mutave adding that the idea inspired the formation of the Community Based Organization (CBO) dedicated to nature restoration, redemption and conservation by planting trees.

Mutave a resident of Oloolaiser in Kajiado County is a nature conservator from the days of her youth when she and other women were inspired by the works of Green Belt Movement under the late Prof. Wangari Maathai, the Nobel laureate.

She says her and other women under Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization would carry their children on their backs to distant places in the region including neighbouring Machakos in the 1980s and early 1990s.

She strongly believes man is responsible for the destruction of the planet and it will take human efforts to restore the destruction calling on everyone to act now and save future generations from disastrous agony associated with climate change.

 Mutave says KAMUTI is not a name to be ashamed of or to be associated with witchcraft but glory as it means trees which are the basis for our livelihoods since Kenya is an agricultural nation.

She quoted and commended President Dr. Ruto for his plan to plant 10 billion trees in 10 years which she says is possible if everybody sat and thought how life would be better with constant rainfall to replenish the earth which will bring forth vegetation including enough food for all.

The environment is a prerequisite for prosperity, peace and unity in Kenya if every person played their role to support the president who has a great vision for this country. Drought is rampant and synonymous with the region due to unpredictable and declining rains over the years risking desertification of the entire country.

The Chairperson and founding member of KAMUTI CBO appeals to Kenyans to compliment efforts by the government and individual tree growers, and other stakeholders in fast tracking environmental affirmative action activities to salvage Mother Nature before it is too late.

She encourages the young people in diaspora and in cities to support their relatives back home who have vast lands to plant trees which will supplement for the oxygen they enjoy in concrete cities, some with little or no forest cover.

By Joseph Kamolo

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