County wildlife committees and ministry clash over wildlife policy

Photos of Lamu county Wildlife conservation committee chair Ali Shebwana on July 22 PHOTO NATASHA NEMA

Mombasa,KENYA:County wildlife committees across the country have opposed some of the suggestions in the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Policy, 2017 which was tabled in parliament a earlier in the year

The county committees led by the Chairman of the Lamu county conservation and compensation committee Ali Shebwana have accused the ministry of environment of altering the new set of rules to suit certain persons and overlooking the amendments proposed by the committee members a few months ago while at the same excluding the role of the committees as representatives of the people.

Shebwana says the new rules would repel the Wildlife conservation management act of 2013 instead of supplementing it while introducing unnecessary middlemen into conservation.

“The policy is technically transferring responsibilities of Wildlife Conservation to non-constitutional bodies – which are currently the major sources of conflict in places like Laikipia County;” reads part of the letter written to the clerk of the national assembly.

In a letter to the clerk of the national assembly the commitees want the bill rejected till it is amended by the ministry of environment and natural resources.

“That, Its our humble Prayer to The National Assembly that;
The Wildlife Conservation and Management Policy document before the Committee of Environment and Natural Resources to be REJECTED and returned to the ministry of Environment and Natural Resources so that it can be Rewritten and be aligned with the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013;” reads another part of the letter.

Snakebites compensation

Earlier in the month Environment CS Judy Wakhungu proposed a suggestion to strike out snakebite compensation which make over 60% of claims filed by victims over loopholes in the compensation act and the committee has opposed such a move saying the CS was not mandated with decisions to strike out compensation.

“If the issue is to be addressed, it should be addressed at the floor of the house” Shebwana said.

The county conservation and compensation committees were established when the wildlife conservation act came into law in 2014  and they operate independently from the Kenya Wildlife service which is mandated with compensation of wildlife victims.

If the policy is to be implemented,wildlife compensation will fall under the treasury.