Kenya cancels planned training of KWS rangers by British army units


(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.

7 Responses

  1. On drones, I think, in my opinion, that it was more of the location and control of the info obtained that is the issue. I dont think there is any government that would would allow drone to be flown on restricted airspace. Ol Pejeta where the drone was to be based is hardly 5 kilometers from the Kenya Air Force base and the new British Army Ttaining unit in Kenya (BATUK) base. With no clear SOPs in place, no country would allow a civilian controlled drone near its most sensitive military installations even if it is not armed.

    On BATUK offer to train KWS- BATUK offered and the offer has been refused. End of story. British Army training will not eradicate the corrupt networks that are responsbile for poaching. The rangers are well trained in Manyani (and they command more respect even than the police), their political bosses are not.

    1. The British Army training offer was initially welcomed and then inexplicably shelved. Again it seems that Kenya is happy to cut off her nose to spite the face, because, like with the war on terror there should be no political considerations when it comes to accepting help.
      As to the deployment of the UAV’s, for one the ban is covering ALL of Kenya and secondly had Ol Pejeta cleared their intention with the air base in Nanyuki including facilitating the presence of security personnel from what I gathered over the weeks.
      Thanks for reading my blog.

  2. Sadly Jomo’s KENYA is disappearing bit by bit, the rule which also applies to poaching war is ‘if you fight a war, the first aim is to win’
    With the expertise and equipment and offer of trainig and resources now snubbed its clear there is no political will by the Wabenzi to even act vigorously against poaching….it is far too lucrative and the brown envelopes must flyingbthick and fast amomg the top men….
    when the animals have gone so will be kenya.

  3. British had colonized us …. but will not control us…. Kenya is a sovereign State…and even if I would be the president …… I would not listen to this attention seekers ….. British British all time… why not Swiss, Japan or China … move on to other post colonial countries

  4. over the years i notice kenya people are very anti west . let them kenyans learn them selves so,.
    i know so many people who love togive aid keyan childrens, but its not appreciated by kenyas,.

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