Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Brian Mundubile says the New Dawn administration’s plan to degazette some forests in the country amounts to policy inconsistency.
Mr Mundubile who is also a PF Presidential candidate said that degazetting forests is a backtrack on President Hakainde Hichilema’s environmental protection commitment, as he was among global leaders in November 2021 that signed the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests to stop deforestation by 2030.
He said, Zambia signed and ratified the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on October 15 1994 and September 19 1996 , respectively.
Mr Mundubile stated that the UPND Government created the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment which gave people false hope that they would work vigorously to protect the environment.
He said the PF Government, even without the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, invested heavily in tree planting.
Mr Mundubile cited forest projects left by the PF Government as those in Shiwang’andu District, Kawambwa and Northern Province.
“All these efforts where done in a bid to replant trees especially that the areas in question were affected by deforestation,” he said.
Mr Mundubile was concerned that the creation of the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment gave citizens an impression that the UPND would step up efforts in areas of regeneration.
“When you have the same Government degazetting the same forests, that is a sign of policy inconsistencies. We insist that they should rethink their position going forward,” he said.
Debating the Motion of Supply for his Ministry, Friday, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Elijah Muchima said there was need to de-gazette some of Zambia’s forests in order to accommodate the increasing population.
“UPND gave us challenges on Forest 27 which was legally degazzeted by 6th President Edgar Lungu forcing UPND to say they would demolish the houses but the language changed immediately they were in power,” he said.