Speaking at a Climatic Change workshops organised by the Zimbabwe Women Bureau, Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre and ZERO at Mutiusinazita High School, people said those caught cutting trees had gone scot free after paying bribes of chickens and goats.
One villager, identified only as Chidoma, said: “If you move around the villages you will see stacks of newly cut trees for firewood.”
Another villager, Chipo Chingono, said community leaders should be transparent in the way they go about fining offenders.
The head of ward 27, Mushuwa Honye Mutuwa, refuted the allegations, saying: “We have fined villagers, but most of the time offenders commit the same crime because the fines are not deterrent enough. Most villagers are prefer to pay a fowl and continue cutting down trees for firewood. When others see this they quickly accuse us of being corrupt.”
Chief Muzokomba said the issue of fines for offenders has been misunderstood by many villagers. The said chiefs have put respectable fines only as a restraining measure because many villagers are poor and cannot afford heavy fines.
“It not the chief only who decides what should be done to offenders. There is the police, the village heads and the office of Environment Management Agency who are also involved,” he said.
The workshop also highlighted the problem caused by widespread cutting of thistle bushes to use as garden fences, thus destroying valuable goat fodder.
“Livestock have turned to trees for fodder, and these same trees are being randomly being cut down,” said Agriculture Extension Officer Petronella Matizanadzo.Post published in: News