An environmental hazard looms as soldiers assigned to provide security services at the National Heroes Acre ‘besieged’ the national shrine cutting down trees to supply firewood vendors in the high density suburb of Warren Park and surrounding areas, Zim Morning Post has learnt.
This development comes in the wake of power shortages in the country but environmentalists have raised concerns on the negative effects of the practice as it increases deforestation and environmental degradation.
“We have noted with great concern how the supposed custodians of the national shrine are destroying the environment through cutting down trees.
“We observed that the soldiers openly supply firewood to vendors in Warren Park who have a ready market due to incessant power cuts,” said Dennis Rukaro who is a volunteer with Green Africa an environment protection lobby group.
In an interview with Zim Morning Post this week, one of the vendors said the soldiers offered reasonable and enticing prices and have helped them to make profits.
The development has been condemned and deemed a sign of disrespect to the fallen heroes and national monument.
“I will definitely not agree with what these soldiers are doing, it is actually a disrespect of the national monument,” said a Warren Park resident.
“Whoever lies in the National Heroes Acre has an imprint in the history of Zimbabwe and he or she is a hero hence making the ground sacred,” he added.
Recently, ZESA published a tight load-shedding schedule that will see towns across the country without power between 4am and 10pm almost every day and this might intensify the besieging of the heroes acre by the soldiers as demand for firewood increase.