Kenyans get surprise tree-planting vacation as Ruto’s inconsistency criticized

by MMC
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President William Ruto, through his Home Affairs Minister, Kithure Kindiki, said the initiative is part of government’s plans to grow 15 billion trees by 2030. The objective is to increase the country’s forest cover by at least 10%, compared to 7% currently.

“It will be a patriotic contribution to save our country from devastating effects of climate change, » Kindiki said in a statement.

Shortage of tree seedlings constitutes a major obstacle to the success of the program, believes Lamech Opiyo, an environmentalist. He adds that the government encourages Kenyans to buy their own plants, but most citizens face Financial difficulty.

The government cannot ask Kenyans to cut down trees and then announce a holiday asking them to plant more trees.

“I fear this will turn into a public relations exercise and a photo opportunity for senior government leaders on Monday. The majority of Kenyans are not prepared for this,” says Opiyo. The Africa report.

A target of 100 million seedlings should be planted on Monday, according to Soipan Tuya, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Forests.

“This is the time for Kenyans to stand together in defense of our environment,” she said, stressing that this is part of the goal to grow at least 1.5 billion trees per year. year.

“I encourage Kenyans to sacrifice and go to their villages to plant trees,” she told Kenyans ahead of the holiday.

During his recent visit to Kenya, King Charles III has welcomed President Ruto’s tree planting initiative.

Ruto’s inconsistency critical

While Ruto pushed his green diary since coming to power, his announcement in July to lift a logging ban in place since 2018 casts doubt on its sincerity wanting to preserve the environment and fight against climate change.

“The government cannot tell Kenyans to cut down trees and then announce a holiday asking them to plant more trees. This shows that leaders are not clear about what they want,” says Opiyo, who expresses doubts about the coherence of the tree planting project in the future.

Although environmentalists went to court to challenge the lifting of the logging ban, Ruto insisted the decision was taken in good faith and also benefited unemployed youths.

“We cannot let mature trees rot in forests while local people suffer from lack of timber. It’s nonsense,” he said at the time.

Mixed reactions from Kenyans

Planting trees is positive, but creating a holiday was not necessary, says Rodger Abura, a teacher from the coastal city of Mombasa. The Africa report.

“Kenyans should plant trees every time. There needs to be more civic education,” he says, adding that it will not be possible for him to travel to his rural home, almost 800 km away, to plant a tree and then return to Mombasa.

What is a tree planting trip? I plant trees every time. I even did it today

Others say the idea of ​​planting trees is a good initiative in theory, but a difficult task without a supply of seedlings from the government.

“Our region is dry. I will buy two seedlings to plant on our farm and hope the situation will change,” says Irene Mwende, who lives in Makueni, eastern Kenya. The Africa report.

Others find the Ruto tree plan a meaningless exercise. Trader John Wando, who lives in Mwiki, east of the capital, tells Nairobi The Africa report he doesn’t trust the government and he won’t participate.

“It’s hypocrisy. Ruto authorized the harvesting of trees. How can he now persuade us to plant trees now? Monday will be a wasted day,” he said.

Opposition MP Otiende Amollo also criticized Ruto. “What is a tree planting party?” I plant trees every time. I even did it today,” he said on X.

Environmentalists believe that Ruto, who hosted the inaugural African Climate Summit in September, champions conservation and fights climate change on the world stage, but does the opposite at home.

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