A community court in Makoni District has fined two villagers twelve (12) cattle for causing rampant deforestation in the area.
Chief Makoni’s court found Elvis and Jimmy Wilson guilty of excessive cutting down of indigenous trees for sale.
Headman Omega Gwasira was the complainant. He told the court that the duo was cutting down trees using chainsaws and then selling the wood to tobacco farmers. He said:
Elvis and Jimmy Wilson are using chainsaws to cut down trees and sell the wood to tobacco farmers for use in curing their tobacco.
I confiscated one of their chainsaws, but they have since reported me to the police saying I stole it.
They are operating every day with chainsaws and lorries to ferry the wood to their clients.
Even after being served with a summons to appear before this court, they didn’t stop their operations.
In passing the sentence, Chief Makoni said it was imperative to impose deterrent sentences as deforestation was getting out of hand.
He, therefore, ordered the duo to pay a fine of 12 cattle. Said the traditional leader:
The issue of deforestation has gone out of hand. We recently had a meeting at Makoni Rural District Council where we agreed to up our game in curbing deforestation.
We cannot fold our hands and watch as people cut down our trees and destroy the environment. The rate of deforestation is shocking.
Our forests are now seriously depleted and this exposes us to the effects of climate change. If we do not act now, we will end up with deserts.
We should impose deterrent sentences on those causing deforestation in our communities so that we send a clear message that we are serious about protecting the environment.