Tourism CS Balala Under Fire For Death of Rhinos at Tsavo

  • Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala on Thursday fired Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) acting Director General Julius Kimani and suspended six other KWS officers over the botched translocation of Rhinos from Nairobi National Park to Tsavo East National Park.

    All of the 11 rhinos that were translocated have been confirmed to have died.

    Following his directive, Kenyans were up in arms arguing that his move was not enough some terming it as a 'mere cover-up.'

    [caption caption="CS Balala during the press conference on 26/7/2018"][/caption]

    "Somebody/people are up to some mischief! I don't trust Tourism CS Najib Balala on this one. The whole translocation and subsequent deaths stink to high heavens. Does China come to mind? CS Balala anatucheza (He is lying to us)" one user noted.

    "Oh please! This smell like sanctioned poaching and they’re trying to pull wool over our eyes. Show us the horns alongside the carcasses. Someone must also take responsibility and resign, not just suspending officers," another commented.

    [caption caption="Some of the reactions"][/caption]

    Some Kenyans demanded that the people responsible should resign as those suspended were 'sacrificial lambs.'

    "The person who ordered the relocation of the rhinos should take full responsibility, not the junior officers," one user stated.

    Echoing the sentiment, one Kenyan added; "CS @tunajibu and the @kwskenya boss must take full responsibility for the loss and resign immediately."

    "Balala himself should take the first responsibility and resign," a netizen demanded while another affirmed that; "He should not pretend to fix men who purported to follow his orders."

    In his announcement on earlier in the day, Balala appointed Charles Musyoki as the acting head of the government conservation body.

    Also suspended were Samuel Kasiki who was the Deputy Director in-charge of biodiversity, research, and monitoring, Dr Francis Gakuya, who was head of veterinary services, Dr Mohamed Omar, who headed ecology as well as Dr Isaac Lekolool who was a senior vet.

    [caption caption="Some of the reactions"][/caption]

    Additionally, the CS also declared the abolishment of the post of Chief Operating Officer currently held by Nehemiah Rotich and that of advisor held by Mark Jenkins.

    Revealing the findings of an inquest into the unprecedented deaths of the rhinos, the report pointed out to water salinity as the cause of death of the rhinos, with investigators further noting that the animals had been stressed due to acute dehydration.

    The report has also established the negligence of Kenya Wildlife Service staff manning the sanctuary where the rhinos had been translocated as they failed to report the unusual change in animal behaviour in time.

    Balala made public the report after conservationists demanded an investigation into the cause of death of the rhinos at Tsavo East National Park. 

    [caption caption="One of the dead rhinos"][/caption]