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Conservation and the Violation of the Rights of the Samburu

Three perspectives on the Controversy.

1) Kenya: the curse of the wildlife conservation industry to the Samburu Community. 2) Governments of Kenya sized their Land and now their Animals, and destroy their homes to give room for creation of Monster called Laikipia National Park. 3) Samburu Evicted for “Conservation” in Kenya

But where do the conservation agencies stand?

1.  Kenya: the curse of the wildlife conservation industry to the Samburu Community

First and foremost, this is how I personally translate the word ‘’nature conservation’’. Nature conservation in its basic form encapsulates; protecting, preserving, and a careful management of natural resources and of the environment.

Therefore, wildlife conservation being part of conserving nature ought to act as a catalytic leverage for both wildlife conservation and its habitat/environs. Hence, the wildlife conservation industry has the sole responsibility for protecting and managing the diverse species of wildlife as well as initiating and supporting the indigenous community conservation and development programmes, jobs creation and the education of neighbouring areas in the value of wildlife as well.

Literally speaking, balanced nature conservation principles are presumably an attributing factor to why Kenya is currently touted as a wildlife haven. This is to plainly say-a pair of binoculars and a little patience is all one requires as either a local or international tourist in order to enjoy a wildlife paradise nestled in Africa’s sun-scorched middle that’s perfect for those with passion to work with animals in the animal orphanages, conservancies and having fun by looking at them while on a game drive in national park.

Some of the organizations credited for the good work of wildlife conservation in Kenya include Kenya Wildlife Conservation (KWS) and Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF) among others. Now, the question is; who really owns the wildlife conservation industry, and how do they acquire the big shanks of land? To add more thorns into injuries, what happens to the indigenous communities when they are displaced and rendered squatters in their own ancestral land and giving way to a rich multinational corporation wildlife conservation industry like AWF? Well, I suppose this leaves a lot to be desired.

AWF partners with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and is one such a multinational corporation that seeks to exploit the Kenya’s vast natural resources. AWF is widely in Africa and tempting many African authorities with promises of development and economic growth. Many are beginning to question these promises that have proven uneven at best across Africa. Dubbed the resource curse, many poor nations especially in Africa, have seen their riches, natural resources plundered for the world market, but instead of reaping the financial rewards, money is lost in poorly-made deals or commodity swings, or ends up in the pockets of foreign corporations or corrupt officials, leaving the nation’s people not with education and opportunity, but environmental degradation and social unrest.

Multinational corporations like AWF are percieved to be engaged in aggressively buying enormous tracts of land in Africa to the detriment of local communities. This leaves many African nations with a cautionary warning that the land grab puts a country like Kenya on the path to the prevalent increased food insecurity, environmental degradation, increased reliance on aid and marginalisation of farming and pastoralist communities like the Samburu tribe in both Samburu County and Laikipia County. Therefore, something ought to be done.

A report on human rights abuses written by cultural survival dated 12/15/2010 says that and I quote:

‘’ In late November, hundreds of heavily armed policemen forcibly evicted 300 Samburu families from ancestral lands that former president Daniel Arap Moi had purchased in a land-grab typical of his administration. Police chose a Friday “market day” for their attack, when the men were away and only women, elders, and children were in their homes.  Fanning out across the 17,000- acre Eland Downs Ranch, police burned the Samburu families’ homes to the ground, along with all their possessions.

Identified in the Kenyan press as “squatters,” the evicted Samburu families had petitioned a regional court to recognize their ancestral claims to the land where they lived and grazed their cattle.  The case is scheduled to be heard in February 2011, and the court had issued an order against any evictions in the interim period.

Press reports state that the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) recently purchased the property from the former president and that the evictions were carried out at their request, although AWF disputes this. AWF has been negotiating to purchase the property to create a conservation corridor for wildlife, along with “sustainable livestock grazing and other community development projects.”

Cultural Survival condemned the violent evictions in a letter to AWF and questioned their prospects for generating “community development” on the heels of such brutal treatment of the local pastoralists.

A British film crew got a first-hand view of the brutality when they attempted to interview some of the evicted Samburu. They witnessed police clubbing Samburu elders, and the crew was twice detained and threatened by aggressive policemen.  They were filming a documentary about the impacts of conservation projects on Indigenous Peoples which will or were to be aired on the public television in March 2011.” For more, click on this link and watch a documentary about the dirty secrets of curse of the wildlife conservation industry to the Samburu Community in Kenya.

Lesiamito Malino John

Ref: http://eastapi.org/2011/11/15/kenya-the-curse-of-the-wildlife-conservation-industry-to-the-samburu-community/

November 15th 2011.


 

2.   Governments of Kenya sized their Land and now their Animals, and destroy their homes to give room for creation of Monster called Laikipia National Park.

Summary:

Kenya has had a deplorable record of honouring the rights of its Indigenous citizens, both during colonization and after. On February-March 2009 the government’s treatment of its Indigenous populations has been especially egregious, with massive and systematically well-organized attacks on Samburu villages by combined police and military forces and the use of government machinery to size all Samburu animals at Lerata village, Samburu East  and give it to politically correct tribes.

Now once again similar violation comes in despite the much talked New Constitution. At Kabarak farm also known as Eland-down the Samburu ancestral land for more than 90 years. The Government now comes in with new Monster called Laikipia National Park. The Samburu ancestral land of Kisargei farm the Samburu name for Eland-down/Kabarak Farm is taken to form this Monster at their expense now displaced by force, some were killed, their animals taken and homes destroyed.

Background:

Following six years of difficult negotiations due contest of indigenous Samburu people, AWF facilitated the acquisition of the Kisargei land from Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi the former Kenyan president who secretly grabbed it from the community during his Kleptocratic regime for approximately US$4 million (393 million Ksh).  TNC (The Nature Conservancy) provided half of the funding for the purchase, while AWF provided the other half.  

Private ranches quietly supporting sizing and displacement of indigenous people dominate the area around the Kisargei area and local community finds themselves sandwiched between them.  This community land sits among several of them, including the 70,000-acre, government-owned ADC Mutara Ranch, supported in part by AWF; the privately owned, 110,000-acre Ol Pejeta Ranch; and the 49,000-acre Segera Ranch.

The so called “Laikipia National Park” was established on November 8, 2011 despite the previous court injunction; It  is to be the newest national park to be created in Kenya should the plight of local people get ignored. The 17,100-acre Samburu community land will be part of a larger conservation landscape Kenyan government as acquired from indigenous communities without their Free Prior and Informed Consent UNDRIP 2007 and Kenya Constitution.

Context:

Kenya’s record with regard to its indigenous peoples—mostly consisting of pastoralists and hunter-gatherers—has reflected its colonial past, with laws and structures favouring agricultural peoples and commercial interests. In addition to passive discrimination, deliberate marginalization on national resources, the government has at various times egregiously violated Indigenous Peoples’ human rights: Right to decent livelihood, Right to life, Right to protection and more so right to respect private properties.

Development:

Yesterday 25th November 2011 at Kisargei area police used their ten trucks and ten Land rovers to round up the Samburus’ cattle in the grazing fields shot anybody on the sight.  Trucks arrived with more than 300 paramilitary police to the site; the cattle were herded by foot and trucks to Eland down Farm police post and impounded. Some of them were later slaughtered and feasted by police. Our source tells as that a Senior Government Official had ordered them to confiscate them. More than 3,000 cattle, 5000 Goats and Sheep were confiscated in the first day of attacks. Last night homes were deserted; women, elders, children and young people spend night in the bush under heavy rains fear of police night attacks. This morning of 26th of November 2011 police attacked Homes where they harassed, beat and intimidate the residents.

The one man was found, dead; Mzee Lelekina 56 year old with body riddled with bullets wounds at Segera farm more than 30KM away from his home where he was taken that very early morning at 6 AM Monday 24th November 2011. Two others Mzee Lekitacharan and Mzee Lenchordo were beaten to near death and impounded into police Land rovers to Nanyuki Police Station with no access to medical treatment. In the two days after the initial attacks, the assault has spread to other villages at the Pois Robo area fear and tension has gripped the area as many residents ran away from their homes in fear of cold blood killings, rape and harassment by police.

One homes of the widow of late Mzee Lelekina was deserted as results of trauma and shock and fear of police cold killing as a way to conceal the evidence since she was the only key witness in the execution of her husband by the police.

Government officials claimed that the operation was in response to the raid that led to death of two policemen even though no-one knows who killed the policemen, a claim that would seem unlikely given the scale and organization of the response, as well as its timing. Our source indicate instead that the attacks had been planned months ahead of time and that the aim was to drive the Samburu off their ancestral land for political and economic reasons of some few powerful individuals and move was to end their way of life in the area.

NOTE:  Uprooting the Samburu inhabitants in their ancestral land, destroying  their homes with no idea where to settle them in Laikipia where only 42 individuals own 86% of land and other masses of Indigenous Samburu people left to squeeze in small spaces now being taken from them.

The report developed and documented by Samburu Indigenous Minority Rights Group:

1. Jane Meriwas: CEO Samburu Women for Education& Environment Development Organization

2. Kapiri Leparmarai:  Constitutional Lawyer and Human Rights Activist

3. Mathew Lempurkel:  Director Ndugu Zangu Christian Charitable Trust


 

3. Samburu Evicted for “Conservation” in Kenya

In late November, hundreds of heavily armed policemen forcibly evicted 300 Samburu families from ancestral lands that former president Daniel Arap Moi had purchased in a land-grab typical of his administration. Police chose a Friday “market day” for their attack, when the men were away and only women, elders, and children were in their homes.  Fanning out across the 17,000- acre Eland Downs Ranch, police burned the Samburu families’ homes to the ground, along with all their possessions.  

Identified in the Kenyan press as “squatters,” the evicted Samburu families had petitioned a regional court to recognize their ancestral claims to the land where they lived and grazed their cattle.  The case is scheduled to be heard in February 2011, and the court had issued an order against any evictions in the interim period.   

Press reports state that the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) recently purchased the property from the former president and that the evictions were carried out at their request, although AWF disputes this. AWF has been negotiating to purchase the property to create a conservation corridor for wildlife, along with “sustainable livestock grazing and other community development projects.”   

Cultural Survival condemned the violent evictions in a letter to AWF and questioned their prospects for generating “community development” on the heels of such brutal treatment of the local pastoralists.

A British film crew got a first-hand view of the brutality when they attempted to interview some of the evicted Samburu. They witnessed police clubbing Samburu elders, and the crew was twice detained and threatened by aggressive policemen.  They were filming a documentary about the impacts of conservation projects on Indigenous Peoples which will air on public television in March 2011.

Ref: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/kenya/samburu-evicted-conservation-kenya

15th December, 2010

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