Wakhungu to an­swer queries on wildlife men­ace in Taveta

Kenya Wildlife Ser­vice rangers ha­rass res­i­dents found at the pe­riph­ery of the Tsavo West Na­tional Park, while il­le­gal herders freely graze in­side – Mwatate MP Mwadime

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Parliament - RAPHAEL MWADIME @mwadimer­aphael

En­vi­ron­ment CS Judi Wakhungu will ap­pear be­fore the Na­tional Assem­bly En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee to­day to re­spond to a pe­ti­tion by Mwatate res­i­dents con­cern­ing il­le­gal graz­ing in the Tsavo West Na­tional Park.

She will also an­swer queries on the peren­nial hu­man-wildlife con­flict in Taita Taveta county.

Mwatate MP An­drew Mwadime yes­ter­day told the Star on the phone a meet­ing was held by the com­mit­tee last week. “We also want her [Wakhungu] to or­der KWS rangers to stop tor­tur­ing res­i­dents and in­stead pro­tect them from ma­raud­ing wildlife,” he said.

Mwadime ac­cused rangers of ha­rass­ing res­i­dents found at the pe­riph­ery of the Tsavo West Na­tional Park, “while il­le­gal herders freely graze in­side the park”.

He said the ha­rass­ment has caused a sour re­la­tion­ship between res­i­dents and the KWS. Lead­ers have com­plained the park has been turned into a big ranch by il­le­gal herders from North­east­ern.

Mwadime said live­stock have in­vaded the park, dis­plac­ing wildlife that have moved to vil­lages.

“The graz­ers in the park are a se­cu­rity threat to our peo­ple and the wildlife,” he told the En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee last week.

Wakhungu will be asked to name the own­ers of live­stock. There has been spec­u­la­tion the live­stock be­longs to MPs, a High Court judge and other se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. Mwadime urged the KWS to pay school fees for chil­dren in the re­gion.

“Our peo­ple are bit­ter be­cause they are lan­guish­ing in poverty caused by wildlife in­vad­ing their farms. They work very hard but the ele­phants take away all their food,” he said.

“The gov­ern­ment should con­sider giv­ing schol­ar­ships to our chil­dren be­cause wildlife has made them poor.”

/ FILE

Cat­tle graze at the Tsavo Na­tional Park on May 27, 2015. En­vi­ron­ment CS Judi Wakhungu is ex­pected to ap­pear be­fore Par­lia­ment to­day

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