Kenyans Turn Heat on CS Balala Over Dead Rhinos

  • A section of Kenyans online have launched a campaign to demand that Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala take personal responsibility for the deaths of 10 black rhinos in a botched translocation process.

    This followed Balala's move to suspend six Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers on Thursday whom he blamed for the deaths at Tsavo East National Park.

    Under the hashtag #BalalaWajibika, they questioned Balala's assertion that KWS was solely to blame for the deaths reminding him that he personally supervised the process as it began.

    They called for the CS to hand in his resignation, accusing him of seeking to shift the blame to other parties.

    They further highlighted the role of private partners such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which partly funded the process and interrogated their links, if any, to Balala.

    The organization had announced that it would work with KWS in investigating the deaths even as they reiterated the importance of translocation of animals.

    [caption caption="CS Najib Balala addressing a press conference on 26/07/2018"][/caption]

    “Trans-locating wild animals of this size is a complex, challenging undertaking and not without risk. However, range expansion projects to increase black rhino numbers are a recognised cornerstone of conservation efforts, meaning translocation is crucial for future generations,” a statement from WWF CEO Mohammed Awer read in part.

    Former KWS Chairman Richard Leakey, who issued a statement blaming the shocking deaths on the lack of a functional board at KWS had also turned the heat on Balala.

    “Unfortunately, as of today and this statement, I am unaware of a new board ... and if there is one, as [Tourism] CS [Najib] Balala implied in his press briefing yesterday, has it met?

    “It is unfortunate that the minister’s statement failed to reflect the fundamentals behind this tragedy and dig deeper into the real problems at KWS," his statement read in part.

    Under the same hashtag, however, some Kenyans reminded Leakey of his own failures at KWS documented in books such as John Mbaria and Mordecai Ogada's The Big Conversaton Lie.

    They blamed him for allowing donor groups and other foreign entities with suspect motives to infiltrate and control the conservation sector in Kenya during his time at the helm of KWS.

    Other Kenyans simply demanded an entire overhaul of KWS and the Tourism Ministry as more questioned why KWS falls under Tourism and not the Environment docket.

    [caption caption="Some of the messages shared #BalalaWajibika"][/caption]