Uknown Details of CS Najib Balala's Meeting at KWS Leaked

  • Nehemiah Rotich, who until July 27 was Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Chief Operating Officer, has opened up on details of meetings Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala held before he signed off on the translocation of rhinos from Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks.

    Mr Rotich narrated that the CS had been advised against the translocation exercise and reasons were explained to him clearly during the meeting.

    The official recounted details of a meeting held in January 2018 between the CS, a donor who wanted the black rhinos translocated and members of the Board from KWS.

    "Members of the Board maintained their position that the translocation should not proceed, citing the salinity of the water," Rotich stated.

    [caption caption="Amb. Nehemiah Rotich speaks during a past forum involving the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) group"][/caption]

    According to Rotich, the donor was the main advocate for the translocation and imposed pressure to see it through despite the issues raised.

    Rotich insisted that in his capacity as COO, he only learnt that they had decided to go ahead with the translocation a day before it happened.

    Further, he explained that the KWS Board term expired in March, therefore, due process was not adhered to as they approved the translocation to Tsavo East National Park.

    "At the time there was no report to show that the parameters at the park had changed. There was no Board, only the chairman who had only been appointed.

    "The decision to translocate the rhinos should have been made by the Board then the Director-General should have executed the decision," he outlined.

    The former COO added that Balala had failed to mention that the board he met had no jurisdiction to approve or deny the planned translocation.

    "The approval that you heard of was the recommendations of the Board of Conservation Committee. The Board is a policy organ; it does not deal with technical issues.

    "The recommendations were that the translocation of the rhinos awaits the availability or presence of favourable ecological conditions; which is the feed and the issue of saline water should be resolved. The issue of saline water has not been resolved to date," he explained.

    [caption caption="Tourism CS Najib Balala speaks during a session before the National Assembly Environment Committee"][/caption]