Why Taita Taveta County is kicking out Camels

A herd of camels belonging to Somali herders in Taita Taveta county PHOTO COURTESY

Taita Taveta, KENYA: The Taita Taveta Agriculture, livestock and fisheries department has launched an operation to flush out camels from the county.

This is according to the Agriculture, livestock, and fisheries CEC Davis Mwangoma.

The move is following a public outcry by locals over the invasion of camel herders mostly from Northern Kenya who have been accused of invading farms.

On Thursday last week locals in Mwatate sub-county held protests to urge the county government act on the menace accusing the herders of being armed and dangerous.

The locals blamed the invasion for the drying of rivers and lack of vegetation for their livestock.

After protests, the county government halted the issuance of grazing licenses to livestock keepers from other counties.

The county also said those found grazing illegally would be arrested.

However, some ranch owners have been blamed for the camel invasion with the county stating that the ranch owners had gotten into agreements with herders.

According to the Agriculture and Fisheries CEC Davis Mwangoma, the ranches had not involved the county when getting into the agreements with the herders.

“The menace of it all is that the camels are straying into people’s farms because some of the ranch owners got into an agreement with the herders but these agreements are individual so at the end of the day the camels are grazing in the county illegally,” Mwangoma said.

However, the camel invasion is a recurring menace for herders who migrate southwards when there is a drought in their counties.

In 2013, the Taita Taveta county launched a similar operation seeking to flush out the camels. However, some of the herders got a court injunction stopping the operation saying that the contracts they had entered into with the ranch owners were legal.