The campaign to protect Mulanje Mountain is facing hitches as loggers are using mobile phones to evade Malawi Defence Force (MDF) officers who are patrolling the mountain.
According to a source who spoke to Malawi24 on condition of anonymity, loggers and encorachers Mulanje Mountain have opted to use mobile communication to dodge the army and cut trees for timber and charcoal.
“Actually I was there and I saw it happening, people had to use phones to communicate that now MDF team is moving to a certain area so they should start preparing to leave to avoid being caught, just like the way minibus drivers do with road traffic officers,” said the source.
Mulanje district forestry officer Lemos Mlaviwa did not deny or confirm that the loggers are dodging the soldiers using tricks.
“With technology growth in communication I can’t deny that it can happen but we are trying as much as we can to ensure we are preserving nature,” said Mlaviwa.
He however warned people behind the use of mobile phones to trick MDF soldiers that the law will take its action once they are caught.
Mount Mulanje is a large mountain in southern Malawi and lies 65 km east of Blantyre, rising sharply from the surrounding plains of Chiradzulu, and the tea-growing Mulanje district.
Much of the Massif consisted of rolling grassland at elevations of 1800–2200m, intersected by deep forested ravines. It has many individual peaks reaching heights of over 2500m, including Chambe Peak, the West Face of which is the longest rock climb in Africa.
The forested slopes of the Massif has since faced deforestation shakeups such as illegal felling of trees for timber and charcoal as well as encroachment. Thus the soldiers were deployed in an attempt to save the mountain.