Harassment of small scale charcoal dealers in Magarini Sub County has angered area leaders who now demand the lifting of the charcoal ban.

Mr. Kazungu Mwambire, a transporter, narrated to journalists how they were being harassed by authorities on the road.

He added that road blocks are mounted and hefty bribes are demanded before they can continue with their work.

“When you pass here you must part with a bribe but recently things changed and the amount was increased. They have been collecting Sh. 150 but now they are taking Sh. 450 and if you fail to give them your motorbike is impounded,” he said, adding that there were two roadblocks, one at Jais area near Marafa shopping centre and at the Sabaki river bridge.

Mwambire said that transporters buy a bag of charcoal from the charcoal burners in Marafa at Sh. 350 and sell it at Sh. 600 120 kilometers away in Malindi and the bribes were leaving them counting losses.

“In a charcoal bag I make a profit of Sh. 250 but all that goes to bribes. What I want or request from the government is to support us to get an alternative livelihood if they don’t want us to deal in charcoal,” he said.

Marafa MCA Renson Kambi said that it was wrong for charcoal burners to be harassed when they do the trade on their land.

“Most of these people cut the trees from their farms to burn charcoal because there is no other alternative livelihood and I have distributed more than 2,000 tree seedlings to people to plant on their farms. Let authorities don’t harass people,” he said.

He added that there was biased treatment on charcoal dealers since the large scale ones that even destroy forest covers were being given preferential treatment and their goods escorted by police.

Magarini MP Michael Mingi said the area was suffering from drought and hunger and those dealing in charcoal trade had no alternative livelihood.

He called on the government to lift the ban on charcoal trade because the current burn was being implemented in a biased manner where large scale dealers were being shielded.

“The operation should be fair and there should be no special treatment to certain traders at the expense of others. The ban should be lifted so that people can continue with their economic activity,” he said.

The charcoal trade has been cited as a contributor to environmental degradation and global warming and the government came up with measures to reverse the trend and to ensure the country achieves at least ten percent forest cover.

Areas where the trade is rampant has left the land dry and with little or no rainfall at all coupled with other natural calamities such as drought, floods and hunger

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of https://www.ktmn.co.ke KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *