TWO headmen in Paramount Chief Mpezeni’s area have been arrested for illegally harvesting the Mukula tree.
Mpenzeni has joined police patrols in his area to monitor the same with chief Zumwanda of the Chewa people in Lundazi calling on the government to find a lasting solution to the illegal harvesting of the Mukula tree.
In an interview on Thursday after taking part in a police patrol that led to the arrest of four people including two of his headmen, Mpezeni said he would actively take part in the campaign aimed at curbing the illegal trading of the Mukula tree in the country.
The Paramount Chief, who on Thursday drove through the bush with police officers on a tour to pick up his subjects involved in the illegal trade, warned that the country risked losing the tree if people do not rise up to protect the illegal business.
He said it was sad that a lot of Mukula timber was illegally taken into Malawi by unscrupulous businessmen who found readily available market from the Chinese in his area.
Mpezeni charged that forestry officers were not working in the county as it was their responsibility to protect the natural resources from being destroyed.
He said forestry officers were being paid salaries every month without doing their job.
“Tudabwa kuti chobalandilishila ndalama ba forest nichinji, ndaba nchito sibagwila nchito , so mwaona manje ma Chinese, awonengesha mitengo (we wonder why they are giving salaries to forest officers, they are not doing their work, so you can see the Chinese have led to the destruction of trees),” Mpezeni said.
He, however, called on the government to stiffen the law prohibiting the illegal trade of the Mukula tree by meting out sentences to those found wanting and not to fine them so that would-be offenders could learn from it.
Mpezeni, who led to the arrest of the two headmen Mazengela and Pililani, urged the police to ensure justice took its course on the suspects.
He appealed to Eastern Province police commissioner, Grace Chipalila, to start night patrols in Chaoleka area on Chidiso Road where many trucks pass through en route to Malawi.
Mpezeni disclosed that there were a lot of ‘big’ people involved in the illegal trade of Mukula timber in the country.
“Other people do not take care of their country, they behave as if they are dying tomorrow. They don’t care about the importance of preserving their natural resources. As you say, yes there are big people in this business,” he said.
Earlier when a suspect Lucas Sakala led police to the recovery of 24 logs of Mukula timber, Paramount Mpezeni told Sakala that he would go to jail.
And in an interview on Wednesday, chief Zumwanda said it was unfortunate that some people had continued to cut Mukula timber despite being ordered to stop.
Chief Zumwanda said recently, he impounded a vehicle, which was laden with Mukula timber in his area.
He pledged to continue working with the government in curbing the illegal trade of Mukula timber.
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