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Counties

MPs summon Balala over Sh6bn wildlife payout bill

elephant
KWS officers capture an elephant at a game reserve. PHOTO | POOL 

Parliament has summoned Tourism and Wildlife Secretary Najib Balala over failure to settle more than Sh6 billion in compensation to persons injured or the next of kin of those killed by wild animals.

The National Assembly’s Environment and Natural Resources committee took the decision after Narok woman representative Soipan Tuiya demanded a report on the status of compensation for death, injuries and destruction of property in all 47 counties.

Ms Tuiya wants Mr Balala to appear before MPs and provide a compensation plan per county.

She said Narok County, which hosts Maasai Mara Game Reserve, had suffered huge losses arising from human wildlife conflict as 65 percent of wildlife roam freely earning Kenya colossal amount of revenue annually.

“I sympathise with the MP because human-wildlife conflict has caused loss of lives and property not only in Narok but the rest of the country.

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“The budgetary allocation for 2020/21 is only Sh500 million against confirmed cases of more than Sh6 billion. We have summoned the CS to appear before us,” Mr Kareke Mbiuki, who chairs the committee said.

Mr Mbiuki added that there is need for further funding to mitigate effects of human-wildlife conflict.

The Treasury has maintained its Sh500 million allocation to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in the last two financial years.

No victim of human-wildlife conflict has been compensated for either loss of life or property damage since 2013, a government audit shows.

The KWS owed victims Sh2.2 billion for the years 2014 to 2016 alone but the figure has risen to more than Sh6 billion as at end of June 2020. Compensation for human death, injury or damage to property has been significantly increased under the new law that came into force on January 10, 2014.

The law requires Sh5 million be paid for human death, Sh3 million for injury with permanent disability and up to Sh2 million for other injuries depending on their extent.

“Statistics show that between 2015 and 2017 more than 500 people were killed and 3,210 injured across the country. The last compensation for death was made in 2014,” said Ms Tuiya.

She said a young man was trampled by an elephant in Narok recently and the county continuous to witness lack of commitment on the part of KWS and the ministry to compensate.

“There is total disregard by KWS to pay compensation for the deaths and loss of property,” she said.

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