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Statement by Dr. Richard lesiyampe, Principal Secretary, State Department for Environment and Natural Resources on efforts to revamp Kenya Wildlife Service

Date Published: 16 Apr, 2014
Statement by Dr. Richard lesiyampe, Principal Secretary, State Department for Environment and Natural Resources on efforts to revamp Kenya Wildlife Service

Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Dr. Richard Lesiyampe during a media briefing at KWS headquarters, Nairobi

The Government is fully aware of the magnitude of the problems facing the wildlife sector, in particular poaching which has been an issue of great concern.  As you are all aware, the poaching and trafficking in wildlife are trans-national problems that have increased in sophistication and scope.

The Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources gazetted a task force on wildlife security headed by Ambassador Nehemiah Rotich, a former Director of Kenya Wildlife Service, and we expect its full report by the end of next month. We call upon all stakeholders to come forward and share their views with the Taskforce.

The Cabinet Secretary also presented the situation of the wildlife sector to the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Natural Resources last week.

In addition, the Government has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to scrutinize and oversee operations in KWS for the next three months with a view to identifying challenges in the Service and undertaking remedial measures. The committee comprises of senior officials of the following Ministries:

  • The National Treasury
  •  Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • Planning and Devolution
  •  Interior and National Co-ordination
  • Kenya Wildlife Service

The committee started working yesterday (April 10, 2014) and shall be meeting every week to ensure measures identified are effected timely. 

Further to these, consultations between the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), both field and headquarters officers, have been held. We came up with a raft of measures to be undertaken to revamp KWS within the next 100 days starting on Saturday (April 3, 2014).  

Six senior officers have been asked to proceed on leave starting yesterday to pave way for investigations into operations of KWS. The affected officers include:

  1. Mr Julius Kimani- Deputy Director Security
  2. Mr Patrick Omondi, Deputy Director Wildlife Conservation
  3. Mr William Waweru-Deputy Director Finance and Administration
  4.  Mr Tom Sipul- Deputy Director Corporate Services
  5. Mr Wesley Isanda- Head Finance
  6. Mr Christopher Oludhe- Acting Head Supply Chain management

For continuity in services, the following have been appointed in acting capacity:

  • Mr Robert Muasya Ag. Deputy Director Security
  • Mr Nelson Agina Ag. Deputy Director Finance and Administration
  • Mr Robert Njue Ag, Deputy Director Wildlife Conservation
  • Engineer Benson Wamaya Ag. Deputy Director Corporate Services
  • Mr James Sambu Ag. Head of Finance
  • Mr Gitonga Runo Head of Supply Chain Management

 

In order to address the issue of poaching, we have identified key areas that need urgent attention. These include:

·        Formation of an anti-poaching committee to look at all aspects of poaching and recommend actions must be followed up and executed.

·        Review budgets to channel more resources to the core business of KWS, especially in the field

·        Restructure and revamp the Intelligence Unit which plays a critical role in the war against poaching

·        Renovation and upgrading of Lake Nakuru, Nairobi and Ngulia Rhino sanctuary fences

·        The Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and KWS will enhance engagements with various stakeholders, especially County governments, community and other security agencies with a view to boosting the war against poaching

·        In order to increase the mobility of rangers, 50 4x4 wheel drive vehicles will be procured for deployment to the field

·         In order to fast-track procurement of critical security equipment there is need to review membership of the tender and procurement committees urgently

·        Follow through force modernization by procuring and deploying modern equipment, including night vision and firearms

·        Rationalize and harmonise allowances for rangers with a view to improving their welfare

To address the current shortage of staff, we plan to commence recruitment of 600 rangers from Monday next week.

As you are aware, we are in the process of merging KWS with KFS, Water Towers Authority and Nyayo Tea Zone. The process is on course and we hope to complete it as soon as possible.

We have also prioritized the implementation of the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013. Other government agencies, especially the Judiciary and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions are fully on board in efforts to rein in wildlife crime.

Further, the government is investigating any misappropriation of public resources and will take appropriate action against the culprits once this is established.

More consultations will continue to be done with a view to ensuring that our wildlife heritage is conserved at all costs.

I wish to assure Kenyans of our commitment to secure wildlife and the safety of our visitors. At the same time, I wish to sound a warning to poachers out there that their days are numbered. Finally, I appeal to all Kenyans to support us in our efforts to conserve our national heritage.

 

 

THANK YOU

Dr. Richard Lesiyampe PhD, MBS

Principal Secretary