Kajiado opposition leaders have raised concerns the proposed Wildlife conservation and management (amendment) bill, 2017, could be aimed at suppressing pastoral communities.
They claim the proposed amended fines to be meted on herders trespassing into conservation areas under Clause 31, section 102 of the principal act is demeaning to pastoralists.
The Bill that is being sponsored by MP Amina Abdalla was handed to parliament on April 11 and seeks to raise fines for trespassers into national parks with livestock to a minimum of Sh10 million.
Governor David Nkedianye and other politicians led by ODM nominee in the senate race, Daniel Tenaai and Thomas Lekenya claimed in Loitokitok on Monday, they are opposed to the amendment laws aimed at segregating their communities.
Tenaai claimed communities in pastoral areas in the country have not been engaged in public participation forums as demands the constitution and therefore, any attempt by the state to pass the laws without further amendments is a recipe for chaos.
Clause 31 amends section 102 of the Act to insert all categories of protected areas into which unauthorized access is prohibited and to impose a maximum penalty for violation of the restrictions imposed under the section.
The Clause further makes the owner of livestock vicariously liable for the offence of an employee, agent or servant entering a protected wildlife area with livestock and without a permit from the Service.
Clause 32 amends section 103 of the Act to provide a penalty for directors of bodies corporate and persons in partnership convicted of offences under the Act.
The directors of the bodies corporate and partners are to be, on conviction, liable to a fine of not less than ten million shillings or imprisonment for a term of not less than five years or both such fine and imprisonment.
The leaders, who spoke in Loitokitok town after a weekend-long campaigns and receiving defectors from the Jubilee Party, said they are not objecting the entire proposed bill but asking for the government to be sensitive to the pastoral communities.
Tenaai said; “We have lived with wildlife and sharing resources with wild animals for decades and we have never protested against them sharing our grazing fields with our livestock. Why is the state introducing laws that will bring us in loggerhead with wild animals?”
Lekenya warned that passing such laws as they are will force the pastoral communities to kill all the wildlife straying in their farms.
“We cannot accommodate them in our grazing fields and at the same time, we are not allowed to graze ours in the parks,” claimed Lekenya.
In passing the Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill and Policy, the Cabinet directed that the measures be fully implemented to bring to stop cases of poaching in the country and streamline management of wildlife services.
In this regard, some of the measures adapted by Cabinet were:
Establishment of an inter-agency security team composed of personnel from KWS and the Police Service to continuously track down and apprehend bandits in the wildlife sanctuaries including private conservancy areas.