Influence Punitive Measures for Environmental Destruction – Speaker Wetang’ula

April 4, 2023

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula has challenged Law lords currently attending the 3rd Regional Symposium on Greening Judiciaries in Africa at Safari Park, Nairobi to come up with punishable measures in law on environmental destruction.

The African Country’s Judiciaries in Africa gathered under the umbrella, the 3rd General Conference of the Africa Judicial Education Network on Environmental Law (AJENEL), are currently deliberating on strategies that include legislation that can address the climate change matter towards saving the ecosystem.

The AJENEL event presided over by President William Ruto brought together judicial officers across Africa and beyond to strengthen the role of the Judiciary in addressing climate change in Africa.

Speaking during the event Monday, Speaker Wetang’ula said that climate change is a global matter that requires urgent measures towards saving the ecosystem through strategic legislation geared towards addressing the climate change matter.

Dr. Wetang’ula said that Kenya had taken a deliberate step to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring a friendly environment.

“This dialogue could not have come at a better time than now when the current negative climate change being experienced across the globe has adversely affected our way of life. Everywhere I go in the village, our elder citizens tell a different story of serious environmental degradation which has seen forests disappear & rivers dry up leading to a devastating situation in the country including diminished rain patterns”, said Speaker.

Speaker Wetang’ula underpinned the importance of injecting radical measures in mitigating climate change saying that he was encouraged by the coming together of the Judiciaries of Africa to Think Environment, Think Green towards saving our ecosystem.

On legislation, Speaker Wetang’ula challenged the judicial fraternity to review the current existing environmental legislations to capture the current realities to help ease pressure on the environment for friendly co-existence.

“I assured the law lords of my support to propel any environmental related legislation to fast track the process and ensure that our environment is secured now and for future generations,” said Speaker Wetangula.

On the part of the legislative arm of government, he assured the law lords present at the conference that the Parliament of Kenya has enacted laws intended to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment including the ban on the use of plastic bags, the promotion of renewable energy, and the conservation of forests and other natural resources. Examples include the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, the Climate Change Act, the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, the Water Act, the Energy Act and the Forest Conservation Management Act. Among others.

The Speaker further endorsed the contribution of President William Ruto’s flagship project on tress planting project terming a positive step towards restoring Kenya to a green country.

“I acknowledge and support the president’s initiative to plant 15 Million trees. This is an excellent move that needs a strategic roadmap on how to plant the trees, protect them and take care of them geared towards achieving the goal for making our country greener and highly productive,” he said.

He acknowledged natural resources both in water and land saying that Kenya and Africa at large were well endowed with natural resources that human encroachment and destruction through pollution has made it not very useful for economic development.

“I urge my colleagues in the judiciary to influence the executive by making laws that protect the environment and ensure punitive measures for those destroying the environment through pollution of water bodies, deforestation, and careless gas emotions among other harmful practices. The Congo and Amazon basin are the lungs of the world but millions of acres are now disappearing hence the need for protection,” added Speaker.

The Speaker said that strengthening laws on environmental use and management will be key in mitigating adverse climate change in the country.

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