STAKEHOLDERS DEMAND MORE TIME TO REVIEW AND AMEND WILDLIFE BILL
The attempt by the Kenyan government to rush through a controversial wildlife bill, with little time given to stakeholders to widely consult and contribute opinions and propose changes to the draft text, has obviously failed as growing opposition is now reported to be forming from conservation circles, land owners and the affected communities against the current version of the draft bill.
Attempts by government to limit the time for review and input and set an unrealistic deadline, which expired yesterday already, prompted a growing chorus of voices to protest vehemently demanding that the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife re-engage in consultations and dialogue and not proceed to take the draft bill to parliament. Leading conservationists, including former KWS Executive Directors, have gone on public record with their concerns over the given time frame and reportedly said they would not legitimize a flawed process by sending in their observations unless the entire public consultation exercise is repeated with a longer time frame and greater transparency.
Dr. Paula Kahumbu of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust, a respected conservation figure not only in Kenya but recently honoured by the National Geographic Society for her work in conservation had this to say: The draft bill is full of inconsistencies and errors that make it unworkable. We cant afford to rush this process or we will get it wrong and risk losing Kenyas most important assets, our spectacular wildlife treasures and the tourism industry that depends on it. Who will take responsibility for that?
Other eminent conservation figures like Allan Earnshaw, Judy Kepher-Gona, James Isiche, Paul Matiku and Hadley Becha, amongst many others, co-signed a letter to the Minister but no formal response was given from the ministry, either due to the short time available to them to formulate a response since the letter and demands were delivered to them or else for being stunned over the vehement protests their ill considered plans for a new wildlife bill has triggered in the public domain. Watch this space as the latest wildlife saga in the region gains momentum.