Defence Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Eastern Command Major General Ayub Matiiri, Senior Military Officers, Kenya Defence Forces Soldiers, Kenya Forest Service personnel and members of the public in a group photo during the Ministry of Defence tree planting exercise at Ragia Forest in Kiambu County on 14 November 2018.
The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) planted 10,000 trees at Ragia Forest in Kiambu County in an effort to conserve one of the crucial water catchment areas of Kenya.
The exercise is part of the KDF ”Environmental Soldier Programme” whose mission is to make practical contribution to National efforts aimed at mitigating environmental degradation.
Sasumwa Dam is one of the major water reservoirs that provide the bulk of potable water to Nairobi residents and it is estimated that about 25 per cent of water supplied to the City comes from this strategic dam.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle Omamo presided over the event where the Ministry’s staff, local Lari Sub – County residents and officials from the Kenya Forest Service participated in tree planting exercise.
Amb. Omamo said it is incumbent upon Kenyans to recognize the central role that environmental protection plays towards achievement of the Big Four Development Agenda, adding that Kenya’s dreams and aspirations could better be achieved in a clean and healthy environment.
The Cabinet Secretary noted that many people have witnessed the recent drying up of rivers and the receding water levels in our dams and water reservoirs saying this was a warning to every citizenry of the need to tame climate change.
She reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to the acceleration of environmental conservation adding that the Ministry will continue to partner with other stakeholders in a bid to meet the 10 per cent forest cover as recommended by the United Nations, and in compliance with the Presidential Directive for all Ministries to commit resources towards restoration of Kenya’s tree cover.
The Ministry of Defence has so far planted 25 million trees since the inception of the ”Environmental Soldier Programme” in 2003, which aims at ensuring Kenya’s “Total National Defence.”
Speaking during the occasion, the General Officer Commanding Eastern Command Major General Ayub Matiiri observed that climate change and its attendant negative social and economic impacts is one of the main causes of conflicts.
Maj. Gen Matiiri said KDF has adopted a paradigm shift to its security architecture by incorporating a focus on non-traditional threats such as environmental degradation.
He further said that environmental conservation requires the collective resolve and resilience of all Kenyans to recover what has been wiped out through human actions and the devastating effects of climate change.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Raychelle Omamo plants a tree during the Ministry of Defence tree planting exercise at Ragia Forest in Kiambu County on 14 November 2018.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) Eastern Command Major General Ayub Matiiri addresses the gathering.
Kenya Air Force’s Sergeant Collins Alwala plants a tree during the exercise.