31 January 2013

Kenya: State Should Stop Ignoring Poachers


THE Star has just finished running an extensive series on elephant poaching in Samburu and Laikipia. It is very easy to blame the Chinese who buying virtually all the stolen ivory from Kenya. They are fuelling and driving the trade.

But the Kenyan state must also stand condemned. The Star stories named names and exposed the networks behind the illegal ivory trade.

The frightening thing is that the information in these stories is common knowledge in upcountry towns like Archers Post. Everyone, including the police and the KWS, knows who the poachers are. So why is nothing done?

Elephants and rhinos are of vital importance to the tourism industry which earns over $1 billion a year. If they are wiped out, which now seems quite possible, that revenue will collapse.

To make matters worse, organised crime is behind the poaching. As they make money, the criminals grow stronger and stronger. Eventually the criminals will threaten the integrity of the state, just as Mungiki did.

Ending poaching should be a top priority for the government. It should be on the agenda of the National Security Council every week. Instead it is virtually ignored and the poaching continues to escalate.

Quote of the day: "A desperate disease requires a desperate remedy." - Guy Fawkes, convicted of treason against English King James 1, was executed on January 31, 1606

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