Sabuli Residents Up in Arms Against Proposed Conservancy

Sabuli Residents Up in Arms Against Proposed Conservancy

Residents of Sabuli District of Wajir South Sub-county are up in arms against a proposed Conservancy”. Few days ago, a team said to be representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and private developers traveled to the District accompanied by the  Wajir County’s Kenya Wildlife Service Deputy Warden. The team were in the area for 3 days and sources who called us said they were surveying the district and later called for a meeting of the residents. In the meeting, the team of visitors informed the residents that they are intending to create a conservancy for the wildlife in the area. They will dig boreholes for the wild animals in the area and create tourism amenities to attract tourists into the area. This was declined by the area residents. Some of the residents who spoke to us on the phone said that the conservancy will greatly disadvantage them and interfere with their nomadic way of life. ” Our grazing land has been diminishing over the years as private developers who never actually develop anything fence thousands of acres of our grazing land and our animals have nowhere to graze”. Said one of the residents. In the meeting the residents vehemently declined to OK the plan of the visiting team who said they were conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment. ”They want to fence the only grazing land left for our animals and this will will completely impoverish us. It is the only way of life we understand and we will not agree to this plan that will diminish our grazing land” said another resident who attended the meeting but declined to say his name.

Over the recent years,  there were reports of wild animals attacking people as the cyclic drought gets worse and the residents question the rational of bringing the wild animals closer without any mitigation measures. Complains passed to authorities over the people and animals killed or injured by wild animals have not been addressed say the residents we spoke to Wajir town. In 2013 Wildlife Conservation and compensation Committees have been created by an Act of parliament (Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013) and names gazetted in 2015. Wajir is represented by 4 members representing the 4 old constituencies and a Chairperson. When they had a seating last , the committee verified compensation claim forms of 400 million shillings and passed to the KWS headquarters. Victims are yet to receive any compensation. Speaking to the Vice Chair of the committee Mr Abdiwahid Khalif, who represents Wajir South, said they do not understand why the victims have not yet been compensated. Mr Khalif says the then Dr Richard Leakey led KWS board proposed amendments to the act and disbanding of the committees to instead create 8 regional committees. The board also proposed removing of snake bites from compensated cases. The proposal was rejected at the parliamentary committee level (Environment and Natural Resources Committee). ”We do not understand why Dr leakey’s board proposed the removal of snake bites from the compensation claim options as snake bites are very common” said the Vice Chair.The Team Accompanied by KWS wardens

The County Warden who spoke on the phone with some of the area representatives said he was instructed from the headquarters to accompany the team. Our calls to Environment and Tourism Ministries went unanswered.

Over the last few months there were adverse reports concerning the extension of Laikipia-Style Conservancies to Northern Kenya counties like Isiolo and Marsabit. The conservancies are putting the indigenous communities at a great disadvantage and some claim will potentially displace them.

Read Najar’s North on genesis and consequences .