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8 governors push for resource-sharing deal

RIFT VALLEY
By By JOB WERU | September 25th 2013

By JOB WERU

Laikipia County: Technocrats from three government parastatals met at a Nanyuki hotel to deliberate on how the government should share proceeds from resources in the region with eight counties surrounding Mt Kenya.

The meeting was chaired by Laikipia County Governor Joshua Irungu, who was nominated three weeks ago by his counterparts from the other counties to head the committee that brought together technocrats from Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA).

Addressing the media, Irungu said the forum discussed how natural resources available in Mt Kenya, Meru and Aberdare National Parks could benefit the region directly.

During the past meeting held in Nyeri, the governors, who included Irungu, Nderitu Gachagua (Nyeri), Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), Peter Munya (Meru), Samuel Ragwa (Tharaka Nithi) and Nyandarua’s Waithaka Mwangi accused the national government neglecting the counties, claiming they  did not benefit in any way from available resources.

“We are now moving head-on and demanding our share from the national government from the revenue it collects from Mt Kenya, Aberdares and Meru national parks among others,” said Irungu while briefing journalists after the meeting.

Forest fires

Irungu argued that residents of the regions were instrumental in conserving the resources and during dry spells help in extinguishing forest fires that are common in Mt Kenya and Aberdares.

“But it is unfortunate that the same people do not have anything to show for their conservation efforts,” said Irungu. He continued: “We have water, forest and wild animals in this region and what we are discussing is to see how we shall share the income generated with the national government, which receives the proceeds,” said Irungu.

Irungu noted that a lot of revenue was generated in the region especially from tourism, but lamented that the counties did derive any benefits. He also observed that residents played a key role in conserving the water towers.

He expressed concern over amendment of Water Act, Forest Act and Kenya Wildlife Service Bill, saying they should campaign for direct and immense benefits to the local people.

Last week, the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta asked agencies charged with wildlife conservation to ensure that communities involved in conservation of wildlife benefit from proceeds gained from tourism.

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