District Forestry Officer for Mulanje Eric Mbingwani told Zodiak Online the tour was organized to show the court and state prosecutors the extent of damage to the forest reserve.
“Our expectations are that upon seeing the extent of destruction of trees in the forest reserve, the courts and police prosecutors will be prosecuting forest related cases appropriately,” said Mbingwani.
On her part, Deputy Director of Forestry for the Southern Zone, Mrs. Cecilia Chauluka, said government is losing revenue to illegal harvesting of forest produce and this is the money which runs public entities like hospitals and schools.
“Apart from revenue loss, the environmental degradation caused in the mountain will have serious consequences to people in Mulanje and surrounding districts if left unchecked,” said Chauluka.
Station Officer at Mulanje Police Station Senior Superintendent Emmanuel Chisoma called for collaboration among government departments and traditional leaders in protecting the forest reserve.
“People who are destroying trees in the forest come from villages and there are chiefs there, so with funds available there is need to keep on engaging them in planning and managing the forest reserves,” said Chisoma.
Senior Resident Magistrate Shaheedah Bakili was also on the tour to the Mountain.