Forum for National Unity and Development has condemned the newly stiff gazeted penalties and fines for forestry offences which among others, being found with charcoal will be attracting a 5-year-jail term or K5million fine.
FND National Coordinator, Fryson Chodzi and Chairman, Bright Kampaundi say the penalties and fines are ridiculous and disadvantage poor Malawians who cannot afford alternative sources of energy.
Department of Forestry head of law enforcement operations, Daniel Kabichi had earlier welcomed the penalties saying they represent the country’s latest move to combat acts of deforestation and increasingly trend of illegal charcoal trade.
“Under the amended law, crimes for the production, transport and commerce of illegal charcoal are treated similar to other as illegal activities (like illegal logging),” said Kabichi.
The stiff punishments come in as the country is experiencing hardships among others persistent blackouts hence electricity cannot be considered as an alternative way for cooking energy.
See all the penalties HERE