Kaya elders blame destruction of religious forest for drought in the area

Kaya elders blame destruction of religious forest for drought in the area

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Kaya elders at Kaya Fungo in Kilifi county. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Kilfi, KENYA: Kaya elders from the coast region have blamed destruction of forests as the major cause of drought and hunger in the area.

Speaking during an exercise to distribute relief food in Gotani, Kaloleni Sub-county in Kilifi County, led by the Kaya Elders Commission Chairman Abdallah Mnyenze, the elders said forests  play a big role in attracting rainfall.

“This has been the cause of this severe drought hitting many parts of the coast region,We all know that a bigger part of the Coast is inhabited by the Mijikenda community which has its own traditions mostly relating with the forests.” Mnyenze said.

They called upon the police and other environmental stakeholders to step up their efforts in protecting the forests.

He said that people have been cutting trees even from the Kayas (Spitual forests) for the Mijikenda; forgetting that it’s a curse, which in turn causes  drought.

He said the Kayas have now been destroyed and therefore traditional rituals must be undertaken in a bid to seek forgiveness from God.

“If you walk to various Kayas, you will see that they have been destroyed completely and that is the cause of this drought,” he said.

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“Even scientists will attest to our view as they also believe that trees are vital for rainfall attraction, something that has turned to a dream for now,” he added.

But according to Kilifi county Eco Conservation director, Christopher Maina, they are working hard in their duties to curb such activities.

He also urged the community to report the activities to the relevant authorities.

“This is a two way duty where the community has the obligation to inform the relevant authorities such the Kenya Forest service or even the National Environment Management Authority NEMA for action to be taken,” Maina said.