Share revenue or we kill animals, leaders tell KWS

From left county speaker Johnson Osoi, governor Joseph Lenku and deputy governor Martin Moshisho.
From left county speaker Johnson Osoi, governor Joseph Lenku and deputy governor Martin Moshisho.

Leaders in Kajiado county have threatened to kill wild animals if the KWS does not stop harassing Maasai herders and their livestock.

Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku, Deputy Governor Martin Moshisho, speaker Johnson Osoi and Nominated Senator Mary Seneta said the KWS must share resources from wildlife equitably or they remove their animals from ranches owned by the community.

"We demand nothing short of a 50-50 revenue sharing arrangement. Kajiado and Narok are the only counties where residents allow wild animals to live in their farms, but the people don't get any benefits," Lenku said in Kajiado on Sunday.

The KWS has been moving around in helicopters, killing livestock and harassing herders, he said.

Lenku told the agency to move their animals or he would mobilise residents to start killing them for food.

Seneta said pastoralists have borne the brunt of human-wildlife conflict for a long time. Some people have lost their lives, while others have been maimed by wild animals, yet we get nothing for keeping these animals in our lands, she said.

"We are aware that some wild animals can be turned into food; that we are going to do especially during this season when our people are suffering from food shortage. Those are some of the options open to us unless KWS meets our demands," added Lenku.

The former Security CS termed as an ‘insult’, the money KWS remits to the people of Kajiado.

“I am told that Amboseli gives S10 million as school fees for people living next to the park, that is an insult to my people,” he charged.

"The Maasai people have had enough of this kind of exploitation," the governor said.

A physically irate governor said it is time to bring to an end the culture of the Maasai people being used as souvenirs in photographs.

Governor Lenku's sentiments were echoed by speaker Osoi, who said revenue sharing is provided for under the Fourth Schedule of the constitution, which stipulates that natural resources should be devolved.

"We speak in one voice as leaders of Kajiado on this issue. Wildlife and parks, in our case the Amboseli, fall under devolved government. Our people have not benefitted as they should. As a county government we are negotiating with the relevant agencies of government to rectify this matter," explained Osoi.

Seneta said KWS needs to cultivate a better working relationship with the people of Kajiado.

"These wild animals feed on vegetation that is also consumed by our animals; this is bound to bring about conflicts considering that some of these animals live in our farms, not just in the parks," she explained.

She said the Kajiado Maasai need to benefit from such an arrangement.