13 June 2012

Kenya: Herders Fined Sh70,000 for Grazing in Tsavo Park

Seven men were yesterday Sh10,000 each by a Mutomo court after they were found guilty of grazing livestock in a national park. The men were arrested on June 10, 2012 at the Tsavo East National Park by senior warden Alfred Kanyanya from Ithumba KWS community office.

The court was told that the men trespassed into the park in search of pasture and water with thousands of cattle, goats, sheep and camels. They had grazed in the park for several days. They admitted the offence before Mutomo senior resident magistrate Samuel Mutahi.

The seven are Mohammed Abdi Wario, Hassan Omar Were, Takrim Gofo Bone, Takiso Roka Dame, Abdillahi Mula Bocha, Ismail Bocha Wamaba and Abrahim Abdula. Mutahi had sentenced them to one year imprisonment or a fine of Sh10,0000 each. They told the court that they were fleeing a severe drought in Tana River that had claimed some of their livestock.

The men caused laughter in the court room when they opted to pay the fine and asked the magistrate where they could deposit the money. They proceeded to fish out wads of notes from their pockets. They told the magistrate that they did not want to interfere with the wild animals at the park noting that all they wanted was pasture and water to save their animals. "We wonder where the government wants us to take our animals which we depend on. There is more than enough pasture at the park for wild animals and our livestock," Takiso Roka Dame told the court. Addressing the press outside the court, Kanyanya said KWS would launch a drive to flush out all pastoralists who had strayed in the park with their livestock.

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