NOW KENYA ACCUSED OF KNEEJERK REACTION AS KWS-BRITISH ARMY TRAINING SHELVED
(Posted 23rd June 2014)
The recent offer by the British government to have troops based in Kenya for field training – a cooperation which goes back for decades – provide specialized courses for KWS rangers, was welcomed at the time by Kenya’s conservation fraternity as a meaningful contribution towards providing KWS field personnel with more bush craft and techniques in combating poachers.
It was now confirmed overnight however that the Kenya government has inexplicably either postponed or outright cancelled the training initiative though no authoritative comment could be obtained as yet from any known government sources or sources close to the Kenyan government.
Only two days ago did President Uhuru Kenyatta place the KWS field operations, including all assets like vehicles, communications equipment and arms, under the direct control of the country’s police chief, a move which has not exactly inspired confidence among conservationists due to the checkered history of IGG Kimayo, both by lack of good fortunes and then of course his hugely damaging mouth offs in public, including the social media. He gained added notoriety when trying to impose a ban on tinted car windows for ‘security reasons’ only to do a U-turn in a humiliating climbdown, not the first of several over the past months since getting on the wrong side of public opinion following the Westgate Mall PR disaster.
It is understood from British sources that they hope this is only a temporary delay or postponement rather than throwing the entire training exercise out of the window. Kenya’s elephant lady, Dr. Paula Kahumbu, already expressed her exasperation over the move over Twitter and via her Facebook page.
This is the second such knee jerk decision taken by the Kenyan government following an earlier directive by shadowy bureaucrats that the use of UAV’s aka drones for the purpose of surveillance by conservancies was banned, again under the pretext of security, while the outcome has led already to the poaching of two of Kenya’s most iconic but tusker elephants and more poaching attempts on rhinos which the use of this state of the art technology could prevent. Conservation sources harshly condemned the ban on the use of UAV’s pointing out that they are for one not armed and secondly can provide real time images even at night of poaching hotspots and would in any case only be operated under a set of strict rules provided by the Kenya Civil Aviation authority and other security organs. Kenya oh Kenya, the direction to get out of the hole is by going up, not digging deeper.