A Mandere area man was in hot soup with law enforcers after he violated the country’s Forestry Act which prohibits cutting down of indigenous trees.
Pineal Chikoto of Mandere area in ward 31 of Masvingo District was recently told to pay a US$ 50 fine or to be sentenced to 1-month imprisonment after he appeared before a Masvingo Magistrate on March 21, 2023 for cutting down trees.
According to a report by Masvingo Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Chikoto indicated that he wanted to use the firewood to heat up a brick kiln (Hondo or hovhoni yezvitinha in Shona).
“The suspect indicated that he intended to use the firewood in his kiln during a brick moulding process as his farm had run out of firewood,” reads part of the report.
It is said Chikoto was caught after the diptank manager in the ward discovered that trees near the dip tank were being cut down and immediately notified John Chafuka the EMA monitor in the area.
Chafuka then went to the site and discovered that six Julbernadia globiflora (Munondo) trees were cut down by an unidentified feller.
Following the discovery, Chafuka went to a nearby homestead which belonged to Tapiwa Chigeza and asked for a scotch cart so that he could ferry the wood and also as a way of trapping the lumberjack.
Falling into the trap, it is said Chikoto heard that his wood was being collected and he ran to the site threatening Chafuka and Chigeza.
Chafuka told Chikoto that he had no reason for felling down indigenous trees but he insisted that nothing will happen to him.
The matter was then reported to Muchakata Police Station.
A UNDP report released in March 2022 indicated that the rate of deforestation in Zimbabwe is one of the highest in the world.
The report also state that fuel wood accounts for over 60% of the total energy supply in the country and almost 98% of rural people rely on fuel wood for cooking and heating. Deforestation affects ecosystems, biodiversity and livelihoods.