PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has directed the Ministry of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources to immediately halt the illegal logging and smuggling of the Mukula tree which he has described as an endangered species among the trees in Zambia.
And President Lungu has said land should be equitably and fairly distributed to all Zambians at a fair price and should never be allowed to be a preserve of the elite few because all citizens had the right to acquire land without any form of discrimination.
The Head of State said he was worried about the continued illegal cutting and logging of the Mukula tree and that some foreign nationals were involved in the smuggling of the Mukula timber at the expense of the country’s economy.
The President said he had been receiving reports that some traditional leaders and civil servants had been conniving with some foreigners in the logging and smuggling of the Mukula tree.
Speaking when he swore in Barnaby Mulenga as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources and Steven Chibesa as public policy analyst at Cabinet office yesterday, President Lungu said there had been wanton destruction of the country’s forestry by unscrupulous individuals and directed that the trend should be stopped immediately.
The President said Government was not going to allow the illegal cutting and smuggling of the Mukula tree and that he would continue fighting with civil servants in an effort to protect the endangered species of the tree.
It takes a long time to grow and we must not continue to depopulate it or we are all gone. The tree must have value here and not where it is being smuggled,” Mr Lungu said. And President Lungu said all Zambians should have access to land and that it was incorrect that few privileged Zambians were acquiring large pieces of land at the expense of other citizens.
The President said all Zambians were entitled to the equitable distribution of land and that it was unfair that there had been an increase in the number of land brokers who were making land unaffordable to most citizens.