One of Kenya’s most respected conservation groups, the Northern Rangelands Trust, has apparently come into the cross hairs of loose cannon county officials from Turkana, who have reportedly told them to pack their bags and get out of the county for allegedly not being registered.
Said a conservation source from Nairobi when passing the information: “You know my opinion about the so called devolved government in Kenya. It has only resulted in thousands of new eaters coming into power. We have a joke here about the ‘malnourished’ councilors and county government officials who all need to eat big even from small jobs. I think you wrote about these planned new conservancies which last year got some support from oil companies. It was NRT which was selected to put these things together because of their good reputation and their expertise. What we suspect is that these officials may have other designs for the land which is supposed to be turned into conservancies? Or maybe their brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, nephews and nieces failed to get jobs there? Maybe they got an idea when they saw what NRT was preparing and got greedy, maybe wanting to copycat the idea. You know how some of these officials work and how they react if you put little food on their plates. If they try to stop it we will support NRT and expose these fellows for their mischief.”
It is understood from other sources that Turkana elders were involved last year in the discussions to set up conservancies and that staff were already recruited by NRT towards making the new conservation areas operational. This follows two oil companies and the Northern Rangelands Trust signing a Memorandum of Understanding in late October last year.
Some of the new conservation areas are located in the West Pokot County and no objections have been received from there, singling out Turkana county and suggesting considerable ill will by officials if not an outright ulterior motive for their actions.