Kenya Forest Service chief replaced in shake-up

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) head Emilio Mugo. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenya Forest Service (KFS) head Emilio Mugo. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) head Emilio Mugo has been replaced in a management shake-up triggered by degradation of key forests.

Mr Mugo has been replaced by senior deputy for support services Monica Kalenda in changes that affected 15 senior managers.

The changes come as thousands of hectares of public forests, ranging from mountain rainforests to savannah woodlands, coastal forests and mangroves, get cleared due to high demand for land and timber.

Head of procurement Victor Kobia was also forced to step aside, while corporation secretary Esther Keige has been sent on compulsory leave.

KFS chairman Peter Kinyua said in a statement yesterday the changes have been prompted by the “discussion that has been going on in the country and smooth operation of the service.

“We have already disciplined the other officers who have been adversely mentioned,” he said.

Deputy President William Ruto on February 24 suspended logging in all forests for three months and asked Environment secretary Keriako Tobiko to look for a lasting solution to drying rivers.

Mr Tobiko said on Monday the KFS officials were “living in denial” by insisting reports of ongoing illegal logging in gazetted forests was “fake news”.

On Sunday, the minister directed immediate replacement of the officers manning Ngong’, Ololua, Kibiku and Thogoto forests following reports of illegal logging and charcoal burning.

Clearance of trees in key water towers has been blamed for drying rivers that are crucial in the production of hydroelectricity, affecting businesses due to an erratic power supply.