By Anesu Mamhute
CHIREDZI – Mopane forests in Chiredzi are disappearing very fast due to the massive charcoal business that is driving people to cut down the trees for sale in Harare and elsewhere.
Chiredzi District Administrator (DA) Lovemore Chisema said most worrying was the fact the destruction was happening under the watch of the Environmental Management Authority (Ema) which seems unable to execute its mandate.
In an interview, Chisema said Ema had a duty to perform in terms of the powers given to it by the law, and lamented that virtually nothing was being done to prevent the further destruction of Mopani trees.
“The commitment of the agency in Chiredzi is very weak because they focus mainly on trivial issues and needless penalties yet they fail to give prominence to issues of sustainable conservation of resources. This is despite the fact that they have the power to exercise their mandate,” said Chisema.
Ema is mandated to provide for the sustainable management of resources, protection of the environment and prevention of environmental degradation by the Ema Act, Chapter (20:27).
In 2018, the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) which is chaired by Chisema, challenged Ema to engage all stakeholders to curb deforestation.
Ema Chiredzi district officer, Peter Mugodhi flatly refused to take any questions from TellZim News although it is apparent that his office is doing nothing to protect the environment from obvous threats.
The Mopane is an important tree species of the savannah, providing nutritious animal feed in the dry Lowveld and helping to prevent erosion.