Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Forest officers warned against harassing charcoal traders
The government has issued a severe reprimand to all forest officers who have the habit of harassing charcoal traders once they apprehend them and sometimes snatch away their bicycles they use transport sacks of charcoal to the market. The deputy minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Japhet Asunga said in the parliament that, the role of forest officers while on duty is to monitor bad activities people do while destroying forest reserve environments. However, he further clarified that, once they come across defaulters such as people who cut down trees indiscriminately for the purpose of making charcoal have to take them to police stations for interrogation. He said forest officers looks after the forests in various manners by following the laid down rules and regulations ordained in the forest laws, but in actual fact they have no the audacity nor authority of harassing traders and snatch their properties. The deputy minister was clarifying a point earlier raised by Kaliua legislator Magdalena Hamisi Sakaya (CUF) who wanted to know from the ministry of Natural resources through Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) which is under the ministry on their basic roles. The legislators questioned that, “why is it that most forest officers have the habit of harassing charcoal traders upon their arrest by beating them while transporting their charcoal sacks on bicycles looking for customers around in rural areas”. In response, Asunga noted that it is not the aim of the government to see his people are harassed without a cause, if there is a common purpose for which an operation is undertaken, and then let the victims be taken to police station for interrogation. However, the deputy minister who spoke in anger noted that, if such cases of molestation do occur to innocent traders has called on all victims to report such cases for further legal action which will be taken against the perpetrators.