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Opinion & Analysis

EDITORIAL: Resolve KWS woes quickly

Auditor-General Edward Ouko. file photo | nmg
Auditor-General Edward Ouko. file photo | nmg 

Without a doubt, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is one of the key government agencies that should not be allowed to fail.

The agency, which has the sole jurisdiction over all national wildlife parks is tasked with conserving and managing all wildlife resources that are a pivotal anchor of Kenya’s tourism industry and form part of our national heritage.

Kenya’s wildlife, primarily through tourism, is a big contributor to the economy. Yet the latest report by the Auditor-General shows KWS has accumulated huge losses -- about Sh4.4 billion -- which makes it technically insolvent.

KWS has a number of income streams that should, ideally, be able to generate resources enough to sustain the organisation. Therefore, the technical insolvency points to a larger problem.

The agency has blamed large amounts of compensation in recent years that it has had to pay for deaths and injuries resulting from wildlife attacks -- most of which it says are snake bites.

The agency blames the amended law that increased the compensation to victims and has asked Parliament to reconsider the amounts so that it is able to pay from its revenue. It makes sense; and a solution could be reached even without necessarily cutting down the compensation amounts.

That notwithstanding, there is also the possibility that management problems could also be an issue that has beset the agency, leading to the status quo. The government must get to the root of the problem.

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