Youths implore Malawi parliamentarians to save Viphya Plantation

Malawi youths have called upon the country’s 193 Members of Parliament  to pay sober attention to the catastrophic state of the 55,000 hectare Viphya plantation in Mzimba district arguing that Parliament has an obligation to enact effective policies to safeguard the man made forest.

“We do not regret to openly state that the plantation…continue to be the unguarded victim of excessive corruption and negligence in the hands of our political leaders. We also note that lack of political will …has frustrated some major national economic project that could have benefited this country,” Chairperson of the Mzuzu based Youth and Society organization Charles Kajoloweka

Kajoloweka also called for an immediate and action oriented political will from the country’s leadership to save Viphya Forest from total collapse.

“It is in our beholding that the Viphya Forest crisis deserves immediate and direct involvement of the country’s top leadership,” he said.

Kajoloweka: Save Viphya plantation
Kajoloweka: Save Viphya plantation

Kajoloweka made the impassioned plea early this week during the official launch of the Green-Week campaign which is aimed at raising awareness and rehabilitation of the Chikangawa forest.Dubbed ‘Youths for green Malawi: Chikangawa, our economic treasure’ the week will run from 28thJanuary to 4th February 2013. And activities lined up for the week include; Replanting deforested sections of the plantation , Stakeholders Engagement meetings, Environmental Open Day (Education and awareness campaign) and live public debate on radio.

The topic for the debate, which will be held on 4th February, 2013 at the St John of Gd Hall in Mzuzu is ‘Has Malawi benefited from the Viphya Plantation Project’

Youth and Society replanted 20,000 trees covering 15.2 hectares.

“It is unfortunate that our MPs have opted for a passive role over the Viphya project crisis. We appeal to the National Assembly to play its active role in safeguarding Viphya forest from total collapse,” Kajoloweka said.

He then asked government to come up with a recovery plan for Viphya Forest saying the rate of rehabilitation is disproportionately decimal to the rate of harvesting.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jane Chilunga, who officially opened the Green Week Campaign, said the Malawi government through the Forest development fund is working at restoring the Forest to its glory days.

The minister, who had earlier threatened to boycott the function demanding allowances and fuel reimbursements, blamed locals for bringing in foreigners in the plantation, whom she accused of decimating the forest.

Chilunga had demanded fuel from Lilongwe to Chikangawa and allowances all amounting to Mk200,000 for her to participate.

Ironically, Chikangawa forest and all other forests in Malawi fall under her ministry.

She said government will enact a law that would bar foreigners from the plantation.

Chilunga said last year government replanted 1600 hectares, which translate to 2,112,000 million trees.

“As government were are playing our part. This year we have targeted 3,000 hectares and we hope that at this rate we achieved significant progress in a few years to come,” she said.

Nkhata Bay West MP Grace Chiume said it is worrisome that all the trees are gone saying there is need for government to force operators to replant at least 10 percent of their concession areas.

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