Kenyan reporter flushes out USAid effort to repeal national ban on hunting

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2007:
NAIROBI–“Killing wildlife for fun may be re-introduced in
Kenya if the government implements a new wildlife policy believed to
have been influenced by the U.S.,” wrote John Mbaria in the February
24 edition of The Nation, the leading Kenyan newspaper.
“The draft policy calls for lifting the 1977 ban on hunting,
and asks the government to allow game ranchers and communities in
wildlife areas to crop, cull, and sell animals and their products,”
Mbaria said.
“These recommendations are a radical deviation from what
communities in 18 of the 21 wildlife regions in the country proposed
during a nationwide views gathering exercise carried out by the
National Wildlife Steering Committee,” Mbaria continued.
Affirmed Akamba Council of Elders representative Benedict
Mwendwa Muli. “We overwhelmingly said no to sport hunting. We
requested the government to restock wildlife so that we can start
receiving tourists.”

The draft policy, however “advises the government to give
ranchers the right to kill and use animals at will,” Mbaria wrote.
Mbaria said he was told by unnamed insiders that the draft
policy was framed “by game ranchers operating under the auspices of
the Kenya Wildlife Working Group, as consultants seconded to the
committee by the United States Agency for International Dev-elopment.
Tourism & Wildlife assistant minister Kalembe Ndile is believed to
have supported the ranchers,” who come from Laikipia, Nakuru and
Machakos, Mbaria said.
“Besides bankrolling the process with 41 million Kenya
shillings, USAid is reported to have hand-picked four consultants to
draft the policy,” Mbaria alleged. “According to sources in the
Kenya Wildlife Service, the four are business development specialist
Nderitu Wachira, wildlife ecologist Wilbur K. Ottichilo, and
lawyers Patricia Kameri-Mbote and Kanyi Kimondo.
Admits the draft policy preamble: “The ministry with the
support of USAid Kenya appointed the financial management agency to
manage the process and provide technical support.”
“Together with a Dr. Brian Child,” Mbaria said, “the
experts worked for USAid as consultants on a project that assessed
the status of the country’s wildlife and which also asked Kenya to
lift the ban on sport hunting and other uses that require killing of
Brian Child, originally from Zim-babwe, was the architect
of the USAid-funded Zimbabwean hunting scheme called the Com-munal
Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources, CAMPFIRE for
short, named by Child’s colleague Rowan Martin.
From 1989 through 2004, USAid pumped more than $40 million
into CAMPFIRE, essentially subsidizing trophy hunts. CAMPFIRE
raised about $2.5 million per year in revenue, mostly from hunting.
Mostly, though, CAMPFIRE rewarded Mugabe regime insiders for
neglecting the leftist goals that brought them to power–until Mugabe
encouraged the land invasions, beginning in 2000, to placate
supporters who had anticipated land allocations for nearly 20 years.
Child, in a paper recently published by the Property &
Environment Research Center, a so-called “wise use” front based in
Bozeman, Montana, acknowledged that as of 2003, “The central
[CAMPFIRE] institutions had all but collapsed in function and,
fueled by vast amounts of donor money especially from USAid, had
become bloated.”
But Child insisted that CAMPFIRE was still a success,
because “Almost half the money generated from the sale of wildlife
was still getting to the communities, albeit this was down from
about three-quarters” eight years earlier, when Child left Zimbabwe
to push the CAMPFIRE approach in Zambia.
Zambia, reported Bwalya Nondo of Zambia Daily Mail on
January 27, 2007 “has launched a campaign to lobby the U.S.
government” to allow more hunters to import trophies from Zambian
elephants. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service presently issues
permits under the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species for up to
500 elephants shot in Zimbabwe, but only 20 shot in Zambia.
U.S Fish & Wildlife Service assistant director for
international affairs Ken Stansell, at the 2007 Safari Club
International convention in Reno, “assured the Zambian delegation
that U.S. authorities would study the Zambian case,” Nondo wrote.

Minister supports ban

The new Kenya draft policy emerged from a team appointed by
Tourism and Wildlife minister Morris Dzoro.
Dzoro told Mbaria that USAid “came in and asked to facilitate
the process.”
However, wrote Mbaria, “He denied that the agency had taken
part in drafting the policy,” and “ruled out the resumption of
hunting” in Kenya.
Kenyan vice president Moody Awori made similar statements in
November 2006, while accepting a donation of 10 million Kenya
shillings from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, toward the
cost of putting up solar-powered electric fencing to protect crops
from wildlife in Laikipia.
“Wild animals in Laikipia, Nakuru and Machakos” are “highly
coveted by the global hunting fraternity represented by elitist clubs
such as Safari Club International,” Mbaria observed, noting Safari
Club influence in the White House.
“In 2004,” recalled Mbaria, “a protracted U.S.-backed
campaign culminated in the repeal of the [Kenyan] Wildlife
Conservation & Management Act,” including the prohibition on hunting.
Kenyan President Mwai Kbaki vetoed the repeal after the
indigenous Kenyan organization Youth for Conservation mobilized
nationwide last-ditch opposition.
The Safari Club, pointed out Mbaria, had “sponsored a
number of Members of Parliament, some media personalities, and
government officials for a trip to countries in southern Africa that
allow wild animals to be killed for fun: Namibia, Botswana, South
Africa, and Zambia.
“Twenty-two African countries allow killing animals for fun,”
Mbaria wrote.
Many are now aggressively competing for some of the hunting
business lost in recent years by Zimbabwe as result of land invasions
and unrestrained poaching.

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