Prosecute illegal timber loggers

05 March 2019 | Opinion

Corruption remains public enemy number one in many developing countries and Namibia is no exception. There have been many concerns regarding the rampant abuse of power for self-gratification, especially in government, where taxpayers’ money is often involved. Concerns are that there are no resolute efforts to fight corruption, especially at the highest level. There is clearly a slack attitude coupled by lax prosecution of glaring instances of corruption. The lack of political commitment to tackle graft, especially in the public service, does also not appease the situation. In today’s edition, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has raised serious concerns among forestry officials, who he accused of doling out timber harvesting licenses without the required clearance certificates (ECC) in place. It is disappointing that government has allowed this type of looting and contamination to continue unabated because of weak law enforcement and corruption. We surely cannot allow these syndicates to turn our environments into deserts just because of their insatiable demand for precious timber, leading to illegal logging. The ministry of environment must put its foot down and protect our environment without fear or favour from illegal loggers. There must also be measures in place to guard against corrupt activities and the involvement of senior government officials in illegal deeds. It appears at the moment that smart businessmen and their handlers in government are exploiting all necessary loopholes and are capitalising on a lack of government policy to continue with their thriving and illegal trade in timber. As a nation, we must fight this treacherous act tooth and nail because it does not only have grave consequences for our environment and future generations, but our economy is equally not spared. Therefore, a proper forestry management system must be in place to guard against this most violent attack on rosewood resources in our country. It should no longer be business as usual.

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