Mutua asks Senate to drop Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill

Tourism CS Dr Alfred Mutua. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua wants the Senate to drop the Wildlife Conservation and Management (Amendment)Bill, 2023.

Dr Mutua also requested senators to forward the proposed amendments to the Ministry for inclusion in a new Bill being developed.

The CS who appeared before the Senate Lands, Environment and Natural Committee said the experience from implementing the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (WCMA) 2013 has revealed shortcomings, including inconsistencies in definitions as well as the use and application of terms and phrases.

The Cabinet Secretary said that implementation of the Act has resulted in high and unsustainable costs of implementation, especially on compensation claims, poor and confusing cross-referencing between the body of the Act with various sections and the schedules, typographical errors and redundancies and lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities of the implementing institutions.

“There is a draft Bill to comprehensively review the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act No.47 of 2013 being undertaken, the proposed amendments are being looked into comprehensively and it is in the interest of the public and relevant stakeholders to carry out this comprehensive review with view of repealing the current Act and coming up with a new law that effectively addresses the issues being proposed,” said Mutua.

He told the committee chaired by Nyandarua Senator John Methu that he had appointed an advisory committee on the transfer of the Amboseli National Park to the Kajiado county government with clear terms of reference as directed by President William Ruto.

Taita Taveta Senator Johnes Mwaruma has sponsored the Wildlife Conservation and Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023 to enhance the current wildlife management framework by ensuring County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees receive necessary funding and set a twelve-month deadline for wildlife-related compensation.

Mwaruma's Bill seeks to streamline compensation processes, reinforce local community involvement and establish clearer guidelines for benefits sharing from conservation areas with the amendments focusing on improving responsiveness and accountability within wildlife conservation efforts in Kenya.

“The Wildlife Conservation and Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023, is introduced against a backdrop of growing challenges in wildlife conservation and management within Kenya, notably the recent increase in reported cases of human-wildlife conflict,” he said.

The Taita Taveta Senator said these conflicts have not only led to the loss of life and property but have also heightened tensions between communities and wildlife conservation initiatives and there is a need to address the same effectively and ensure affected families are compensated in a timely and fair manner.

Mwaruma said that by proposing amendments that ensure prompt compensation processes and better governance structures, the Bill seeks to rebuild trust between communities and wildlife management authorities and acknowledge the role of the Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees in sustaining wildlife conservation efforts.

The senator said that the Bill seeks to establish a more transparent, accountable, and efficient framework for managing wildlife resources and to balance conservation needs with the rights and well-being of communities living in proximity to wildlife habitats.

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