JUMP IN MARA REVENUE COLLECTION EXPOSES LIKELY GRAND THEFT IN THE PAST
Figures availed to this correspondent during a current visit to Kenya, of revenues collected at the Masai Mara entrance gates since the introduction of electronic payment methods, suggest that grand theft has taken place in the past, when only a fraction of the present revenues were handed over to the Narok County Council.
Initially opposed, and it is patently clear now why, by a small section of individuals with connections who mobilized rabble rousers and went as far as raiding and destroying park gate offices, the scheme nevertheless went ahead, cutting those past beneficiaries off an endless stream of cash money, often paid in hard currency, but has now visibly benefited the council and the community at large.
Specific figures quoted by stakeholders in the know were such that for December 2011 an increase of 40 percent in revenue collection was established, while for January the increase was nearer to 50 percent. Still are opponents mouthing off it seems over the 10 year contract the council entered into, not a surprise of course now that the cash cow is giving the milk and cream directly to the council and no longer to others with little less entitlement than criminal greed. Said a regular contributor, who is also a senior stakeholder in the safari industry in Kenya: Those who agitated against the new method of payment should now that the facts are on the table, be asked what vested interest they had to incite mobs to come and burn park gates. Police should establish if or how they benefited from the disproportionately low collections in the past. If only half went to the council back then, that balance must be traced and accounted for. We enter a new period in our country now and impunity and stealing must no longer be accepted, tolerated. But that all said, only half of the road from Narok to Sekenani gate has been graded and we were promised a tarmac road last year already. Can we please also know when that is going to happen? Our cars are breaking down, tourists complain and when it starts raining after Easter you wait, vehicles will be stuck again. That also must see action and no more excuses from minister and bureaucrats.
True words as also ascertained when speaking with foreign tourists coming back from the Mara by road last weekend, giving fodder for thought for the industry what they will tell their new tourism minister when they have the first opportunity to meet Danson Mwazo. Watch this space.