Wangari Maathai: Once again, our corrupt politicians are cheating the rest of their nation

Comment

Share
Related Topics

The Mau forest complex has been completely at the mercy of politicians carving it up amongst themselves. We were warning about this for years but we were completely ignored.

The Mau is so important to Kenya and to East Africa because it is so huge and supplies the water that feeds the rivers and lakes. Our vital tourism industry is fed by the waters from the complex system. And because of its size it has a climatic impact, helping to regulate the climate and controlling precipitation.

It affects agriculture in the Rift Valley which is the grain basket of Kenya. The Serengeti in Tanzania, and the Maasai Mara in Kenya are both fed by rivers from this precious system. When it is destroyed it will have a devastating impact on all these sectors.

What Kenya's politicians never realised is that it would happen so soon. They thought they wouldn't have to pay a price in their lifetime.

It becomes very difficult to persuade ordinary people to respect the environment when their leaders walk the wrong path. It is often said that in Kenya, leaders don't eat alone – they have supporters and tribespeople who expect to eat with them. They see only the short term benefits.

The scandal of the destruction of the Mau forest is no different from the big financial scandals, such as Anglo-Leasing and Goldenberg, that have blighted Kenya. It's just another example of corrupt leaders who are cheating the public good.

Our "Enough is Enough" campaign is receiving a strong response and people are starting to tell our leaders they can't take it anymore. The problem in East Africa is that people have been able to endure so much abuse.

It's a hard line to draw between the decades of destruction of our own forests, periodic droughts and global climate change. But we do know that part of the reason why our rivers are drying up is the loss of wetlands and marshes and mountain forest. Without the forests to harvest that rainfall it will wash away the soil and fill the rivers and lakes with silt.

There is a lesson here that other African countries must learn: We must adapt and prepare for the changes that are coming.

Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Details of the Enough is Enough campaign can be found at http://www.greenbeltmovement.org

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Research and Insight Analyst (Mathematics Graduate)

£25000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

IT Support Manager - Staffordshire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Manager - Near...

Nursery assistants required for day to day roles in Cambridge

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...

Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40 - £50K first year: SThree: SThree Group an...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

August catch-up: genius of Apple, fools and commercial enterprises, and the Queen

John Rentoul
Tory whips were anxiously ringing round the “usual suspects” following Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip  

i Editor's Letter: Douglas Carswell's defection

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone