MZIMBA-(MaraviPost)-Malawi government through Department of the Environmental and Climate Change Affairs has deployed the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) soldiers to bring order to the closed Viphya Plantation popularly known as Chikangawa in Mzimba district.The deployment of the soldiers to the forest comes barely few days after the department indefinitely closed down the plantation due to massive depletion of trees.
The department’s Spokesperson, Sangwani Phiri told The Maravi Post on Monday that the deployed soldiers will man the entire plantation preventing any free entry.
He therefore warned that any person or group found logging in the forest will be forcefully evacuated even arrested if they show some resistance as per the order.
Phiri disclosed that the closure which will take a long time aims at stopping all the timber logging activities in the plantation due to heavy exhaustion.
“The closure applies to all loggers without concessions effective November 1, 2016. We want to bring sanity and order in the management of the activities in Viphya Plantation. So, we want to ensure that they be done without any hindrance or any kind of interference from anybody. The closure doesn’t have specific timeline until the forest redeems its canopy status.
“Government however plans to demarcate the plantation into different plots which will later be advertised to interested loggers. The plots that are up for grabs are those currently in the hands of some companies that are failing to take care of their share of the plantation in terms of replanting, establishment of firebreaks, pruning let alone paying government what they are supposed to pay in rates”, said Phiri.
Malawi government recently has been deploying MDF soldiers to some major forest reserves including Dzalanyama and Mulanje Mountain in order to deal with illegal loggers, a move some quarter of the society have cried foul over inhuman attitudes by soldiers towards local communities
Early this year, MDF was taken to task by Malawi Parliament after the local radio reports disclosed torture by soldiers to the on locals at Dzalanyama forest.