International NGOs comprising environmentalists, conservationists, civil society organizations and advocates issued President Uhuru Kenyatta four demands following the death of environmentalist Joannah Stutchbury.
In a press statement dated Friday, July 16, the 44 NGOs asked Uhuru to direct the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to investigate the matter and bring perpetrators to book.
They also wanted the head of state to direct the Ministry of Environment and the Kenya Forestry Service to develop a plan to protect all forests from land grabbers.
"This includes nurturing, protecting and enhancing the capacity of forest-dwelling and indigenous communities including the Ogiek and Sengwer to protect forests, lakes, and rivers.
"Nurture, protect and enhance the capacity of forest-dwelling and indigenous communities, like the Ogiek and Sengwer, to defend and protect our forests, lakes, and rivers. To direct, with immediate effect, environmental activists’ to stop being labelled as anti-development, nay-sayers, disruptors, or a nuisance," they demanded.
The organisations also gave a 14-day ultimatum to the DCI to thoroughly investigate Joannah’s murder and make public their status report by July 30.
The Ministry of Environment was urged to coordinate with other relevant ministries and government departments to ensure the environment and forests are protected from any kind of development.
"Work with environment activists, conservationists, forest-dwelling, and indigenous communities to reach a grassroots - grass tops solution to protect our environment, forests, rivers, and swamps from land grabbers," the NGOs wrote.
The NGOs included Amnesty International Kenya, WildlifeDirect, Greenpeace Africa, and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI).
Environmentalist and activist Joannah Stutchbury was shot dead by unknown criminals outside her Kiambu house, on Thursday, July 15. Conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu alleged that the murder was related to the activist's fight for the environmental conservancy.
President Uhuru Kenyatta mourned the late Kenyan environmentalist and ordered security agencies to track down and apprehend the assailants.
"My government will pursue and apprehend the criminals behind the killing of Joannah. We will not allow a few misguided individuals to continue shedding the blood of innocent people working hard to make Kenya a better place for all of us," he assured.
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