- REPUBLIC OF KENYA
THE SENATE-FOURTH SESSION, 2016
LEASE OF TWO GAME RESERVES BY ISIOLO COUNTY GOVERNMENT
Hon. Speaker Sir, I wish to present a Petition on behalf of residents of Isiolo County pursuant to Article 37 or 119 of the Constitution of Kenya and the Senate Standing Orders No. 220, 223 and aware that Article 62 (g) and 63 of the Constitution delegated the responsibility of protection of the game parks/reserves and natural resources to the County Government; I will read the Petition and then give a very brief background to the problem.
WE, the undersigned;
Residents of Isiolo County, representing various non-governmental organizations, quasi-governmental organizations, pastoralists, conservationists, environmentalists’ and other stakeholders wish to state that in the public interest that we formally lodge this petition concerning the lease of Buffalo Springs and Shaba game reserves by Isiolo County Government.
We humbly draw the attention of the House to the following;
(1) The Constitution of Kenya 2010 reposes all sovereign authority in the people of Kenya.
(2) The people of Kenya have delegated legislative authority to Parliament as the representative of the people. That delegation is not absolute and can be exercised by the people simultaneously.
(3) The Executive organ of Isiolo County government expresslyviolated the Constitution by leasing Buffalo Springs and Shaba game reserves by putting up an advert for “Call for Expression of Interest” in the “Daily Nation Newspaper” of 24th May, 2016 without public participation in the entire process, usurping the County Assembly and stakeholders consultation that has been established in pursuance of the Constitutional benchmarks.
These game 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 during the defunct Isiolo County Council regime and therefore it is the backbone of the County.
(i) The matter of leasing both Buffalo Springs and Shaba Reserves was brought to the attention of the County Assembly for thorough scrutiny and ventilation by Hon. Hassan Guyo Shano through request for a statement early this year. (Appendix i-Request for Statement)
(ii) That the written response by the County Executive Committee for Tourism was not satisfactory and it failed to convince Members of the Assembly because it was too shallow and hollow. In a nut shell the response is devoid of substance and merits.(Appendix ii-Response by Isiolo CEC for Tourism)
(iii) After lengthy deliberations, it was resolved that the matter be referred to the Public Accounts and Investment Committee of the Assembly for further investigations and report back to the Assembly with a comprehensive findings within stipulated time line which did not materialize till today. (Appendix iii- Order Paper and Hansard report)
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 allegedly leased these reserves for a period of 25 years to a foreign Non-Governmental Organization called African Parks Networks which has failed miserably in several African Countries and much worse without consulting local community, stakeholders and residents of Isiolo County; further noting with concern that such move tantamount to blatant breach of due process of the law.(Appendix iv- History of African Parks Network)
Section 87 of the County Government Act, 2012 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, marginalized 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 Sir, for the benefit of the House, democracy must be built through open societies that share information, when there is information, there is enlightenment, when there is debate there are solutions, when there is no openness, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, unbridled corruption, subjugation and indignation.
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.(Appendix- v- Letter by Transition Authority dated 9th September, 2015)
(i) The matter is alive before the Isiolo County Assembly and it has not yet been ceased off by the Assembly to its logical conclusion;
(ii) There was no civic education and public participation conducted by the Executive arm of the County government on the issue of game reserves which has monumental significance and far-reaching ramifications on the people of Isiolo County;
(iii) The County government blatantly violated all the tenets of the Constitution by putting up paid advert on 24th May 2016 which had fake and defective contacts disregarding the very fundamental law of our land and other relevant statutes. This was outright violation of Public Procurement and Disposal Act.(Appendix vi-Advert for Call for Expression of Interest)
(iv) We tried to establish the express authenticity of the provided contacts which all proved to be fake and shadowy; the email read isiolocountygovernment@ and the phone number provided was 540-721-421-347. We have established beyond reasonable doubt that no such number exist anywhere in the world. Moreover, all Kenyan telephone number start with +254. Therefore, this boils down to another game of musical chairs by the willy nilly operatives at Isiolo county government.
(v) Whatever the intention, the full page advert that could cost upward of KSh. 450,000 may just be a waste of tax payers money because interested organizations may not get through with the fake address. Be that as it may, the advert was predetermined and more less it is just a public relation exercise because the County Government had already engaged AFRICAN PARKS NETWORK and therefore the tendering process was fundamentally flawed and with the intention of single sourcing it. This means other interested actors, local investors and stakeholders have been deliberately locked out! (Appendix vii- Communique between African Parks Network and Isiolo Count Resident)
According to Public Procurement and Disposal Act, section 78 provides that;
(1) The procuring entity shall prepare a notice inviting interested persons to submit expressions of interest.
(2) The notice inviting expressions of interest shall set out the following —
(a) The name and address of the procuring entity;
(b) A brief description of the services being procured and, if applicable, the goods being procured;
(c) The qualifications necessary to be invited to submit a proposal; and
(d) An explanation of where and when expressions of interest must be submitted.
(3) The procuring entity shall advertise the notice inviting expressions of interest in at least two daily newspapers of nation-wide circulation.
1. Pursuant to the provisions of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003, A person is guilty of an offence if he/she uses his/her officer to improperly award a benefit to him/herself or another person.The public service is a public trust.
2. Authority assigned to a public officer must be exercised in a manner that promotes integrity and the best interest of the people. Public service must also demonstrate respect for the people and bring dignity and honour to the public officer Members of the public expect public officer to render selfless service based solely on the public interest.
3. This is demonstrated by honesty in the execution of public duties, accountability to the public in decision making, discipline and commitment in service to the people. Therefore, a public officer should do his or her best to discharge these duties in line with the Constitution. When a public officer does anything that is contrary to these expectations, he or she commits a breach of trust.
The Executive arm of the county government has deliberately subjected public affairs of the Isiolo community to unending circus and game of musical chairs for umpteenth time.
To best of our knowledge this matter has been initiated by the Executive wing of Isiolo County government and can only be mitigated by the relevant committee of the Senate.
To best of our knowledge there is no matter before the courts or any other legal constitutional body on the responsibility of Isiolo County government to facilitate public participation regarding the lease of Buffalo Springs and Shaba game reserves.
HEREFORE your humble petitioner(s) Pray that the Senate;
This Petition be dealt with immediately in view of the urgency of this matter and seriousness of the issues raised.
The Hon. Speaker of the Senate invoke his mandate and duty to compel the Public Accounts and Investments of Isiolo County Assembly to table the report of their findings within three weeks and direct Isiolo County Government to stop any further transaction on the lease of the said game reserves.
Isiolo residents right to public participation on the lease of the Buffalo Springs and Shaba game reserves be upheld and the Senate;:
(a) Direct the Executive arm of Isiolo county government to provide members of the public with sufficient information pertaining the extent and the impact of the lease of these game reserves to enable them fully and meaningfully participate in providing their input;
(b) The relevant Departmental Committee of the Senate must undertake a countywide process of seeking the public views in regard to the lease of the game reserves.
(c) We demand an immediate halt of the lease process of the reserves, discussions, negotiations, consultations and agreement in any matter whatsoever is deemed as ultravires and against public interests;
(d) We further aver that leasing of these game reserves will seriously prejudice national security interest, conservation and biodiversity interest, tourism and wildlife management interests and all that pertaining to public good and welfare of our County; and
In conclusion, we the people of Isiolo do hereby through this petition pray that theHonourable members of the Senate shall stand up and be counted on the right side of the history.
And your PETITIONER(S) will ever Pray.
HON. BONI KHALWALE
SENATOR, KAKAMEGA COUNTY
DATED: 21/06/2016 ………………………………………
Friends of Isiolo Game Reserves
Waso Trust Lands Project
Resources Advocacy Programme
Merti Integrated Development Programme
Mission of Hope
Friends of Nomads International
Pastoral Women Forum
Northern Frontier Voice Trust