Roots Party deputy presidential candidate Justina Wamae was at pains to expound on her Party’s manifesto that seeks to have Kenyans rear snakes to generate an extra income.
Wamae said Kenyans need to end the stigma associated with snakes and, instead, look at the bigger picture of venom trade.
“We will not give snakes [to Kenyans]. We will, instead, work with the experts like the Kenya Wildlife Service [to harvest snake venom],” she said.
Wamae said Kenya has a lot of people who are qualified [to rear snakes and extract venom], and the government will engage them.
“There is the Wildlife Conservation Act 2013 that stipulates the process and the procedure [of domesticating wild animals],” said Wamae.
Wamae said the Roots administration will inspect potential snake-keepers’ premises to ensure that they’re in a position to rear the animals.
Wamae said snake venom would help save the lives of snakebite victims, and would also help Kenya earn an extra revenue.
Currently, she said, Kenya imports anti-venom from South Africa and India, with a vial going for more than Sh13,000.
She alleged that a snakebite patient requires at least five vials to heal.
“If we rear snakes here and use their venom to manufacture anti-venom, then it will reduce the money spent on imports.”
Ruth Mutua, on her part, said the snake-rearing suggestion by Roots Party was “ridiculous”.
Mutua said her Party would rather invest in other areas that are less risky and guarantee a good return on investment.
“We leave snakes to the zoo,” said Mutua.