A photo seemingly showing Kenyan Ambassador to Namibia Benjamin Langat posing with a gun beside a dead animal has attracted heavy criticism.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, says the diplomat did not shoot the animal as alleged and was only participating in a hunting competition in Namibia.
“The photograph is unfortunate because it offends the sensibilities of Kenyans. But he did not shoot the animal. He only participated in what is an official function in his host country. Some countries believe in protecting the animals and then culling them when they are too many,” an official at Foreign Affairs Ministry who sought anonymity said.
The photo that first surfaced on social media on Monday, August 30, has angered netizens, attracting more than 1,000 retweets and 214 quote tweets on Twitter, at the time of publishing.
Even with the legal practice Namibia has on game hunting practice…for a Kenyan Ambassador Hon Benjamin Langat to participate… he violates his country policy and its commitment which Kenya leads in wildlife conservation and advocate for non Consumptive practices. SHAME ON YOU pic.twitter.com/lgQZ2lAQx2 — ???? ???????????????????? ???? ???????????????????????? ???? (@Karimi_Karen) August 30, 2021
Kenyans expressed dissatisfaction over the act, terming it “shameful and disgraceful”, and accused the diplomat of failing to represent the country’s interests as pertains to wildlife conservation.
Game hunting is however allowed in Namibia. According to the online publication African Hunting Safaris, “the majority of the hunting in Namibia takes place on private game ranches which are found throughout the country. Safari hunting is allowed on private game ranches, conservancies where hunting is permitted and within government hunting concession areas which are only found in the North of the country.”
But diplomatic analysts argue that “any official representation abroad, including diplomats, should promote their country’s policies, aspirations, and values,” journalist Mwangi Maina said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to issue an official statement on the same.
On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta applauded Kenya's wildlife conservation agencies led by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for successful anti-poaching efforts.