Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have tasked government to take responsibility in rescuing the country from environmental crisis.
In a joint press statement, the CSOs have called for urgent reforms in the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources after revelations that Police, Malawi Revenue Authority Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services and Department of Forestry officials receive bribes to aid trafficking of illegal charcoal.
“We are so confident that the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources is already aware about these vices. Although this is the case, the Ministry and the Department of Forestry have not done enough to guarantee protection of trees and forests from degradation.
“The Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources must take responsibility and act to rescue the country from plunging into the deep end of the energy and environmental crisis in Malawi”, reads part of the statement.
The CSOs have meanwhile demanded involved departments in the crime to among others investigate and punish officers involved and issue a statement on how they will contain illegal charcoal trafficking.
The CSOs have also demanded Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources to apprehend illegal charcoal traffickers and update the nation progress made in promoting clean and efficient cooking energy.
Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources has meanwhile engaged Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate the matter.
Nancy Tembo, Minister of in the ministry has said through a press statement that her ministry takes the accusations seriously.
“As a Ministry, we are committed to helping Malawi achieve development goals. In order to reach these goals, we must address corruption, everywhere at all levels”, said Tembo.
Among the CSOs which are 8 in total include 1 Youth Network on Climate Change, Churches Action in Relief and Development, and Sustainable Development Initiative.
Studies have shown that the country lose about 30 thousand hectares of forest each year because of energy crisis poverty.