THE ISIOLO COUNTY
REQUEST FOR STATEMENT ON THE LEASE OF THREE GAME RESERVES BY ISIOLO COUNTY GOVERNMENT
Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 40 (1)(2)(3), with permission, Hon. Speaker, I wish to request for a statement on a fundamental issues on lease of the game reserves and natural resources to the people of Isiolo County. On behalf of pastoralists, conservationists, environmentalists, stakeholders, and residents of Isiolo County, I want to draw the attention of the House to the following:
THAT; Isiolo County is well endowed with natural resources which include;
(a) Sarova Shaba Game Reserve occupies an area of 254sq Km along Ewaso Nyiro River.
(b) The Bisanadi Game Reserve is located along the Bisanadi River bordering Meru National Park and occupies the largest area of 607sq Km
(c) Buffallo Springs borders Samburu County and is 131sq Km in size.
THAT; The amount of revenue collected from the reserves by the county government is not clear but during the defunct county council tenure, it collected up to Sh300 million annually. These reserves are the permanent asset to the local community since time immemorial, it is the pride and Natural heritage of the County. It contributes 90% of the local revenue and therefore it is the backbone of the County.
THAT; Section 75 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 advocates for recognition of the rights and privileges of communities living adjacent to conservation and protected areas in decision-making and determination on the matter of conservation and management of the wildlife resource; noting with concern that the County Government has leased these reserves to a private organisation that has failed miserably in several African Countries and much worse without consulting local community of Isiolo County; further noting with concern that such move tantamount to blatant breach of due process of the law.
Hon. Speaker Sir, Section 87 of the County Government Act provide that; Citizen participation in county governments shall be based upon the following principles—:
(a) timely access to information, data, documents, and other information relevant or related to policy formulation and implementation;
(b) reasonable access to the process of formulating and implementing policies, laws, and regulations, including the approval of development proposals, projects and budgets, the granting of permits and the establishment of specific performance standards;
(c) protection and promotion of the interest and rights of minorities, marginalised groups and communities and their access to relevant information;
(d) legal standing to interested or affected persons, organizations, and where pertinent, communities, to appeal from or, review decisions, or redress grievances, with particular emphasis on persons and traditionally marginalized communities, including women, the youth, and disadvantaged communities;
(e) reasonable balance in the roles and obligations of county governments and non-state actors in decision-making processes to promote shared responsibility and partnership, and to provide complementary authority and oversight;
(f) promotion of public-private partnerships, such as joint committees, technical teams, and citizen commissions, to encourage direct dialogue and concerted action on sustainable development; and
(g) recognition and promotion of the reciprocal roles of non-state actors’ participation and governmental facilitation and oversight.
Hon. Speaker, with your indulgence allow me to give a sneak preview on the history and background of The African Parks Network; which is a registered a not-for-profit company that takes on total responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks and other protected areas, in public-private partnerships with African Governments. And yet, word has it that there will not pay a cent for the first ten years to the County Government.
That those conversant with the operations of African Parks Networks allude that they combine world-class conservation practices with business expertise which is a total distortion of facts. They allegedly place emphasis on achieving the financial sustainability of the parks, principally through tourism and associated private enterprise which also serve as a foundation for economic development and poverty reduction.
Hon. Speaker, Sir, The African Parks Network was founded in 2000 as a not-for-profit organisation by a group of self-proclaimed conservationists;
(i) Mavuso Msimang;
(ii)Dr Anthony Hall-Martin;
(iii) Michael Eustace;
(iv) Peter Fearnhead; and
(v)The late Paul Fentener van Vlissingen, who were said to be concerned about the decline of many of Africa’s national parks .In just nine years, African Parks has taken on responsibility for the management of 5 protected areas in four different countries.
Hon. Speaker, Sir, African Parks Network is registered as a Company under Section 21 of the Companies Act of South Africa and its Head Office is in Johannesburg. African Parks’ CEO is Peter Fearnhead. Each park is managed by a separate legal entity, registered in the host country. These legal entities are mostly established by African Parks Network for the purpose of implementing an agreement with the Government for the management of a specific national park.
Hon. Speaker Sir, African Parks Network is supported by a number of affiliate organisations established in key donor countries. Their primary role is to facilitate the establishment of partnerships in their respective host countries with individuals, institutions and companies, that are willing to become involved in the work of African Parks. Currently these affiliate organisations include:
(a) Stichting African Parks Foundation, Netherlands;
(b) African Parks Foundation of America;
(c) African Parks Foundation (UK)
Hon. Speaker sir, the following parks are managed by African Parks Network:
(i) Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia (since August 2003)
(ii) Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi (since March 2003)
(iii) Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo (since November 2005)
(iv) Bangweulu Wetlands , Zambia (since October 2008)
(v) Akagera National Park, Rwanda (since December 2009)
Hon. Speaker Sir, the following parks were once managed by African Parks Network, but failed miserably for various reasons (known to them) African Parks Network stopped managing these parks:
(a) Omo National Park, Ethiopia (January 2006 to 2008)
(b) Nechisar National Park, Ethiopia (February 2004 to 2008)
(c) Dungonab Bay Marine National Park, Sudan (July 2005 to October 2008)
(d) Sanganeb Atoll Marine National Park, Sudan (July 2005 to October 2008.
Hon. Speaker Sir, what is happening in is really unfortunate because we are selling the soul of county using few pieces of silver. It is absolute manifestation of unbridled greed and injustice. We need urgent attention from the County Government and this House to make sure that due process of the law is followed. It is not only important for this House but also members of the public to know the following;
1. What is the total revenue accrued by the County Government from these reserves since the year 2013?
2. What are the salient factors that triggered the Executive arm of the County how the leadership of the Assembly is involved in the lease of the said reserves?
3. When did the negotiation to lease these reserves began and who signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the people of Isiolo County?
4. Has money exchanged hands in the entire deals which is shadowy and more so opaque?
Hon. Speaker, Kenya has a powerful legislative landscape, providing an array of clear, pragmatic provisions and principles, Kenya’s emphasis on public participation resonates with global experience, which shows that building bottom-up participatory mechanisms is a key ingredient to effective decentralization.
Hon. Speaker Sir, this ambitious devolution shifts some key decision-making from central to county governments, creating a window of opportunity for more ‘bottom-up’ engagement, backed by a Constitution and legal framework that include provisions for government to share information, consult the public and regularly gather citizen feedback.
Hon. Speaker, many countries have, in recent decades, written or revised their constitutions, such as Afghanistan, Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Egypt, Iraq, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tunisia and Zimbabwe, just to name a few. In the past, the process of creating and revising a constitution was usually closed to the public and solely led by experts. However, public participation in these processes has been growing in recent years and is now increasingly accepted as a basic democratic right, affirmed by the UN Committee on Human Rights through their interpretation of Article 25 of the Internal Convenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Mechanisms for participatory constitution building include civic education, public consultations, citizen participation via advocacy by civil society and expert groups, and referendums.
Hon. Speaker, the new Constitution lays the basis for the development of a policy framework on citizen participation. Key provisions pertaining to this are:
(a) Article 1 (4), that Sovereign power of the people is exercised at the (a) National level and (b) the county level;
(b) Article 6 (2), the governments at the national and county levels are distinct and inter-dependent and shall conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultation and cooperation;
(c) Article 174, the objects of devolution are to (c) give powers of self-governance to the people and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them;
(d) Recognize the rights of communities to manage their own affairs and to further their development. d) Article 184 (1), which states that National Legislation shall provide for the governance and management of urban areas and cities and shall in particular (c) provide for participation by residents in the governance of urban areas and cities;
(e) Article 196 (1), which states that a county assembly shall conduct its business in an open manner and hold its sittings and those of committees in public, and facilitate public participation and involvement in the legislative and other business of the assembly and its committees;
(f) Transparency and provision to the public of timely and accurate information.
(g) Fourth Schedule Part 2 (14) which stipulates that the functions and powers of the county are to ensure and coordinate the participation of communities and locations in governance at the local level. Counties are also to assist communities to develop the administrative capacity for the effective exercise of the functions and powers and participation in governance at the local level.
In this regard, it will prudent if this House can be adequately furnished on the following;
1. What are the terms of reference between the County Government of Isiolo and African Parks Network;
2. Who was the lead negotiator regarding the lease of the said game resereves?;
3. Who is involved in the negotiations from the onset to the current status at play?;
4. Was there any written comprehensive agreement between the County Government of Isiolo and African ParksNetwork?;
5. What was the content of agreement if any?;
6. What are the rules of engagement between Isiolo County Government and the African ParksNetwork?;
7. Who are the main actors on behalf of Isiolo County Government?; and what is the role of Speaker in the agreement because he is the head of a separate organ of County Government ?;
8. When was the lease Agreement initiated and how far has the said negotiation reached? ;and
9. What are the elaborate corporate social responsibility that will be offered by the African Parks Network to the Isiolo community?
10. Several trips have been undertaken by selected delegates to countries in Southern Africa such as Zambia, Malawi and South Africa regarding this matter, who has footed the expenses/bills of these trips?; copies of receipts and air tickets must be provided; and;
11. What was the value addition of these study tour to both the Executive and Legislative arm of the Isiolo County Government?
THAT; The actions of the County Government negates the spirit of the new dispensation and all existing relevant statutes. Such move can trigger mayhem, pandemonium and public outcry in the community.
Hon. Speaker Sir, therefore, I would like to request this matter be delved into it expeditiously, so that proper public/civic engagement be put in place and find out those who entered memorandum of understanding/ agreement with the said organization and establish whether due process of the law was followed to the letter.
Hon. Speaker Sir, I would like to seek the indulgence of this House to form a select (ad hoc) committee so that we know the truth of the matter within 21 days.
HON. HASSAN GUYO SHANO
ODM NOMINATED COUNTY