PETITION ON THE ILLEGAL LEASE OF THE THREE GAME RESERVES BY ISIOLO COUNTY GOVERNMENT

I wish to present a Petition on behalf of  residents of Isiolo County pursuant to Article 37 or 119 of the Constitution and aware that Article 62 (g) and 63 of the Constitution delegated the responsibility of protection of the game parks/reserves and natural resources to the County Government; I will read the Petition and then give a very brief background to the problem. “We the undersigned pastoralists, conservationists, environmentalists’ stakeholders, and residents of Isiolo County draw the attention of the House to the following:

THAT; Isiolo County is well endowed with natural resources which include;

1.Shaba Game Reserve occupies an area of 254sq Km along Ewaso Nyiro River.

2.The Bisanadi Game Reserve is located along the Bisanadi River bordering Meru National Park and occupies the largest area of 607sq Km

3.Buffallo Springs borders Samburu County and is 131sq Km in size.

THAT; The amount of revenue collected from the reserves by the county government is not clear but during the defunct county council tenure, it collected up to Sh300 million annually. These reserves are the permanent asset to the local community since time immemorial, it is the pride and Natural heritage of the County. It contributes 90% of the local revenue and therefore it is the backbone of the County.

THAT; Section 75 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 advocates for recognition of the rights and privileges of communities living adjacent to conservation and protected areas in decision-making and determination on the matter of conservation and management of the wildlife resource; noting with concern that the County Government has leased these reserves for a period of 99 years to a private organization which has failed miserably in several African Countries and much worse without consulting local community, stakeholders and residents of Isiolo County; further noting with concern that such move tantamount to blatant breach of due process of the law.

Section 87 of the County Government Act, 2012 provide that; Citizen Participation in county governments shall be based upon the following principles—

(a) Timely access to information, data, documents, and other information relevant or related to policy formulation and implementation;

(b) Reasonable access to the process of formulating and implementing policies, laws, and regulations, including the approval of development proposals, projects and budgets, the granting of permits and the establishment of specific performance standards;

(c) Protection and promotion of the interest and rights of minorities, marginalised groups and communities and their access to relevant information;

(d) Legal standing to interested or affected persons, organizations, and where pertinent, communities, to appeal from or, review decisions, or redress grievances, with particular emphasis on persons and traditionally marginalized communities, including women, the youth, and disadvantaged communities;

(e) Reasonable balance in the roles and obligations of county governments and non-state actors in decision-making processes to promote shared responsibility and partnership, and to provide complementary authority and oversight;

(f) Promotion of public-private partnerships, such as joint committees, technical teams, and citizen commissions, to encourage direct dialogue and concerted action on sustainable development; and

(g) Recognition and promotion of the reciprocal roles of non-state actors’ participation and governmental facilitation and oversight.

For the benefit of the public, the following is a sneak preview on the history and background of The African Parks Network; it said that, it is a not-for-profit company that takes on total responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks and other protected areas, in public-private partnerships with African Governments.And yet, word has it that, there will not pay a cent for the first ten years to the County Government.

THAT: Those conversant with the operations of African Parks Networks allude that they combine world-class conservation practices with business expertise which is a total distortion of facts. They allegedly place emphasis on achieving the financial sustainability of the parks, principally through tourism and associated private enterprise which also serve as a foundation for economic development and poverty reduction.

The African Parks Network was founded in 2000 as a not-for-organization by a group of self-proclaimed conservationists; Mavuso Msimang, Dr Anthony Hall-Martin, Michael Eustace, Peter Fearnhead and the late Paul Fentener van Vlissingen, who were said to be concerned about the decline of many of Africa’s national parks .In just nine years, African Parks has taken on responsibility for the management of 5 protected areas in four different countries.

African Parks Network is registered as a Company under Section 21 of the Companies Act of South Africa and its Head Office is in Johannesburg. African Parks’ CEO is one Peter Fearnhead. Each park is managed by a separate legal entity, registered in the host country. These legal entities are mostly established by African Parks Network for the purpose of implementing an agreement with the Government for the management of a specific national park.

African Parks is supported by a number of affiliate organisations established in key donor countries. Their primary role is to facilitate the establishment of partnerships in their respective host countries with individuals, institutions and companies, that are willing to become involved in the work of African Parks. Currently these affiliate organizations include:

Stichting African Parks Foundation, Netherlands;

African Parks Foundation of America;

African Parks Foundation (UK)

The following parks are managed by African Parks Network:

(i) Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia (since August 2003)

(ii) Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi (since March 2003)

(iii) Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo (since November 2005)

(iv) Bangweulu Wetlands , Zambia (since October 2008)

(v) Akagera National Park, Rwanda (since December 2009)

The following parks were once managed by African Parks Network, but failed terribly for various reasons (known to them) African Parks Network stopped managing these parks:

(a) Omo National Park, Ethiopia (January 2006 to 2008)

(b) Nechisar National Park, Ethiopia (February 2004 to 2008)

(c) Dungonab Bay Marine National Park, Sudan (July 2005 to October 2008)

(d) Sanganeb Atoll Marine National Park, Sudan (July 2005 to October 2008m

What is happening in is really serious. We need urgent attention from the County Government and this House to make sure that due process of the law is followed.

It is important that not only for the lame duck regime but also members of the public to know the following;

√ What is the total revenue accrued by the County Government from these reserves since the year 2013?

√ What are the salient factors that triggered the Executive arm of the County to lease the said reserves?

√ When did the negotiation to lease these reserves and who signed the Memorandum of understanding on behalf of the people of Isiolo County?

√ Has money exchanged hands in the entire shady deals?

THAT; The actions of the County Government negates the spirit of the new dispensation and all existing relevant statutes. Such move can trigger mayhem and pandemonium in the community.

HEREFORE your humble petitioner(s) Pray that the County Assembly—

Shall delved into this matter expeditiously, so that proper public/civic engagement be put in place, establish who signed the memorandum of understanding with the said organization and establish whether due process of the law was followed.I would like to pray that this House takes up this matter and refer it to the joint Departmental Committee on Lands and Natural Resources and Tourism to delve into it so that we know the truth of the matter within 21 days.

.

And your PETITIONER(S) will ever Pray.

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Author: Whispers from the North

Son of a goat herder who is an extrovert with a knack for Governance, Human Rights, Global politics & conflicts, International World Order, Foreign policy, Diplomacy & International Relations. Nonetheless, I live my life and you live yours.I am not in this world to live up to your expectations.You are not in this world to live up to mine.You are you and I am me. If by chance we find each other, it is beautiful.

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