THE HOLLOW HUBRIS AND BLATANT FALSEHOODS ABOUT AFRICAN PARKS NETWORKS (APN) PEDDLED BY WOBBLING ISIOLO COUNTY GOVERNMENT

The African Parks Network is said to be a registered 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, the draft agreement between APN and Isiolo County Government elaborately indicates that African Park Network (APN)will get 75%, the local Conservancy will get 15% while Isiolo County Government will only get a paltry 10% of the sum total of revenue collected from both Shaba and Buffalo Springs for the next 25 years of the lease period. 
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 as reported by Doyo Spanner boy.. 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 which is not only a pipe dream but a wishful thinking to hoodwink the people of Isiolo County.

 The African Parks Network was founded in 2000 as a not-for-profit organization by a group of self-proclaimed conservationists;

a. Mavuso Msimang;

b. Dr Anthony Hall-Martin;

c. Michael Eustace;

d. Peter Fearnhead; and

e. 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 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 Network is supported by a number of affiliate organizations 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:

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

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

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

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

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

The following parks were once managed by African Parks Network, but failed miserably 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 2008.

It is absurd that what is happening is really manufactured crisis because we are selling the soul of Isiolo county with few pieces of silver and at a throw price for that matter. This is absolute manifestation of unbridled greed and corruption. Nonetheless, to situations worse due process of the law was not followed by the corrupt government of Isiolo County. Be that as it may, members of the public must be apprised on the following;

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

2) What are the salient factors that triggered the Executive arm of the Isiolo County government how was the leadership of the County Assembly roped into the lease of the game reserves?

3) When did the negotiation to lease these reserves began and who signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the people of Isiolo County?

4) Has money exchanged hands in the entire deals which is shadowy and more so suspect?

Kenya has a powerful legislative landscape, providing an array of clear, pragmatic provisions and principles, Kenya’s emphasis on public participation resonates with global experience, which shows that building bottom-up participatory mechanisms is a key ingredient to effective decentralization.

This ambitious devolution shifts some key decision-making from central to county governments, creating a window of opportunity for more ‘bottom-up’ engagement, backed by a Constitution and legal framework that include provisions for government to share information, consult the public and regularly gather citizen feedback.

Many other developing democracies have, in recent decades, written or revised their constitutions, such as Afghanistan, Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Egypt, Iraq, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tunisia and Zimbabwe, just to name a few. In the past, the process of creating and revising a constitution was usually closed to the public and solely led by experts. However, public participation in these processes has been growing in recent years and is now increasingly accepted as a basic democratic right, affirmed by the UN Committee on Human Rights through their interpretation of Article 25 of the Internal Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Mechanisms for participatory constitution building include civic education, public consultations, citizen participation via advocacy by civil society and expert groups, and referendums.

The new Constitution lays the basis for the development of a policy framework on citizen participation. Key provisions pertaining to this are:

a) Article 1 (4), that Sovereign power of the people is exercised at the (a) National level and (b) the county level;

b) Article 6 (2), the governments at the national and county levels are distinct and inter-dependent and shall conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultation and cooperation;

c) Article 174, the objects of devolution are to (c) give powers of self-governance to the people and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them;

d) Recognize the rights of communities to manage their own affairs and to further their development. d) Article 184 (1), which states that National Legislation shall provide for the governance and management of urban areas and cities and shall in particular (c) provide for participation by residents in the governance of urban areas and cities;

e) Article 196 (1), which states that a county assembly shall conduct its business in an open manner and hold its sittings and those of committees in public, and facilitate public participation and involvement in the legislative and other business of the assembly and its committees;

f) Transparency and provision to the public of timely and accurate information.

g) Fourth Schedule Part 2 (14) which stipulates that the functions and powers of the county are to ensure and coordinate the participation of communities and locations in governance at the local level. Counties are also to assist communities to develop the administrative capacity for the effective exercise of the functions and powers and participation in governance at the local level.

In this regard, it is mandatory if Isiolo County govern can adequately enlighten us on the following;

1) What are the terms of reference between the County Government of Isiolo and African Parks Network;

2) Who was the lead negotiator regarding the lease of the said game reserves?;

3) Who was involved in the negotiations from the onset to the current status at play?;

4) Was there any written comprehensive agreement between the County Government of Isiolo and African Parks Network?; and can the agreement be subjected to public scrutiny?;

5) What was the content of agreement if any?;

6) What are the rules of engagement between Isiolo County Government and the African ParksNetwork?;

7) Who are the main actors on behalf of Isiolo County Government?;

8) When was the lease Agreement initiated and how far has the said negotiation reached?;

9) What are the elaborate corporate social responsibility that will be offered by the African Parks Network to the Isiolo community?;

10) Several trips have been undertaken by selected delegates to countries in Southern Africa such as Zambia, Malawi and South Africa regarding this matter, who has footed their expenses/bills of these trips?; copies of receipts and air tickets must be provided; and;

11) What was the value addition or benchmarking of these study tour to both the Executive and Legislative arm of the Isiolo County Government?

Finally, the move by Isiolo County Government negates and contravenes the spirit of the new dispensation and all existing relevant statutes. Such move can trigger mayhem, pandemonium and public outcry in the community.

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Author: Whispers from the North

Extrovert, outgoing, a knack for international relations,foreign policy, governance, human rights and diplomacy. 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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