ASAL CONFERENCE

Lenku wants revenue from national parks shared with counties

Says communities taking care of the national parks should fully benefit from them.

In Summary

• Governor Lenku said ASAL communities continue to experience water shortage and inadequate healthcare facilities. 

• ASALs occupy over 70 per cent of Kenya's landmass.  

Elephants roam in a national park
SHARE OF PARK CASH: Elephants roam in a national park
Image: FILE

Governor Joseph Ole Lenku has said Kajiado residents should receive a share of revenues collected from the Amboseli National Park. 

Lenku said residents of Kajiado feel disadvantaged and discriminated against in terms of revenue share, despite being custodians of the parks. 

He said communities taking care of the national parks should fully benefit from them.

The county boss spoke during the second annual ASAL conference in Kajiado county on Tuesday.  

"I am sure the ASAL fraternity will contribute to better growth of the country and continue addressing challenges in the communities. ASAL counties continue to experience water shortage and healthcare challenges," he said.

According to Lenku, the Maasai community has had challenges such as leadership, clan conflicts, acceptance of modern education which held it back from participating in economic activities in the counties.

Over 70 per cent of the country's landmass is categorised as arid and semi-arid. 

ASALs are home to about 36 per cent of the population, 70 per cent of the national livestock and 90 per cent of wildlife. They are spread across 29 counties with varying degrees of aridity.

Kenya is vulnerable to climate change with current projections suggesting that its temperature will rise up to 2.5ºC between 2000 and 2050, while rainfall will become more intense and less predictable.

Even the slightest increase in the frequency of droughts will present major challenges for food security and water availability, especially in the (ASALs) in the north and east.

Out of the 29 ASAL counties, eight are classified as 'Arid and these are Turkana, Mandera, Tana River, Garissa, Isiolo, Samburu, and Wajir.

These extreme climatic conditions have had devastating effects on the environment and livelihoods of communities. 

Lenku thanked the development partners and ambassadors for taking a huge part in contributing to the development of the ASAL areas for the last 50 years. 

He said they took a huge part in empowering the people, especially in education,  until devolution came to carry the gains forward.

He encouraged the partners to put more resources into the ASAL areas to address emerging concerns of climate change. 

The three-day conference was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and ASALs Eugene Wamalwa.

Governors, cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, ambassadors, development partners, and about 800 delegates were among those in attendance.

Eugene said that ASALs have been left behind in terms of development despite their potential.

"We want to see the private sectors come and invest. To do so, we must give them a platform and a conducive environment," he said.

(edited by O. Owino)