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Court throws out bid to bar Koroga fete at Hell’s Gate

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Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohamed Hersi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Justice John Mutungi ruled Wednesday that the Nakuru Environment and Land Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the petition filed by the WildlifeDirect against the KWS and the Naivasha Love Festival.
  • That clears the last hurdle for the Koroga Festival that is planned to run for two days at Hell’s Gate National Park, Naivasha.

The organisers of this year’s Koroga Festival are free to stage the event inside Hell’s Gate National Park on Friday after the High Court threw out an application seeking to block it.

Justice John Mutungi ruled Wednesday that the Nakuru Environment and Land Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the petition filed by the WildlifeDirect against the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Naivasha Love Festival.

That clears the last hurdle for the Koroga Festival that is planned to run for two days at Hell’s Gate National Park, Naivasha.

The conformists have been up in arms against the KWS for allowing organisers of the music festival to host the fete, saying the park had sites designated for hosting such events.

“Success is not winning a court case. Success is thriving wildlife. It is a very sad day for Kenya and lovers of wildlife that the agency responsible for the conservation of wildlife has accepted Sh700,000 despite the fact that the event imperils critically endangered species in an already degraded park,” Dr Paula Kahumbu, chief executive officer at WildlifeDirect said upon losing the case.

On Monday, Tourism Federation chairperson Mohamed Hersi criticised the KWS for allowing the event “that pull large human activities” to take place at Hell’s Gate.

He appealed to the organisers to look for “a more suitable and environmentally friendly venue” elsewhere.

On Wednesday, an international conservation agency joined the fray, saying hosting the 29th edition of the Koroga Festival in Naivasha would lead to “significant disturbance to the animals staying in the ecosystem.”

Like other conservationists, A Rocha Kenya wants the KWS to look for an alternative site.

“We would, therefore, appeal to you to revoke the music festival even at this late stage and prove to Kenyans how KWS can defend the integrity of the biodiversity it has been given the mandate to take care of,” said A Rocha Kenya director Colin Jackson in the letter dated February 11.