Residents invade Ngong Road forest for fuel as cost of cooking gas and kerosene remains too expensive

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Ngong Forest PHOTO/COURTESY

Low income earners in Nairobi slums have invaded Ngong road forest for firewood as formal means of cooking remain far beyond their reach.

Among those who have invaded the forest with machetes and axes are residents from slums bordering the forest.

The slums include Mtego, Racecourse, Kabiria, Lenana among others.

According to Steve Mafura, a security officer from one of the security firm who guards in Karen, the residents does cut huge trunks of trees during weekends when there’s minimum security.

They then carry smaller ones and assemble the remaining ones to be carried at night of weekends to be sold during daytime hours.

“I can tell you for sure the forest is depleting. The government has to lower both the price of cooking gas as well as that of kerosene to safeguard the forest, ” he told the Dailyclock

After this tip off, The Dailyclock went and pitched a tent at the Southern Bypass near Ngong road forest Section 1 where it found that every evening, a group of old ladies emerge one by one from the forest carrying firewood.

According to a world bank report, majority of Kenyans live below one dollar a day.

Those who earn less than a dollar per day must buy fuel first before buying food, a scenario that should not be experienced in a growing economy like Kenya.

Wanjiku (not her real name) seen by The Dailyclock leaving the forest said she doesn’t have a job so she just cooks from outside using firewood she fetches from the forest on a daily basis.

“Mjukuu wangu mimi sina kazi wala sina mtoto wa kuniinua mgongo. Nikitema kuni nauza nusu ili niweze kununua chakula na nusu nyingine natumia kukipika kile chakula,” she said.

“My grandchild, am jobless and I don’t have children to support me. So I fetch wood which I sell half to buy food and use the remaining half,” she said in agony.

Last month, the government increased the cost of kerosene by 16 per cent then lowered by 8 per cent a move that was resisted by Kenyans.

This literally translates that the government increased the price of kerosene by a whopping 8 per cent yet kerosene is the most used source of cooking in urban areas including Nairobi.

The hike in fuel the government says is in line with its mission to raise Ksh 70 billion to pay debts.

However, the government expenditure has surprised government income a move that is forcing taxpayers to tighten their belt to meet the government expenditures.

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