-- Kenya’s Cabinet on Thursday passed
wildlife and mineral bills and policies to speed
up the conservation of the country’s wildlife
resources and also to recognize the rapid
expansion and importance of mining in the country.
A statement issued in Nairobi
after the Cabinet meeting said the Wildlife
Policy and Wildlife Bill 2012 will provide a
comprehensive institutional framework for
managing wildlife, human wildlife conflict, and
compensation and ensures that wildlife is
beneficial to those who live with the wildlife.
"The Bill establishes that
the Kenya Wildlife and Forestry Regulatory
Council; County Wildlife Conservation
Committees; Wildlife Conservation Fund and
restructures the Kenya Wildlife Services to fit
within the new regulatory framework," the
Kenya wildlife enthusiasts have
been banking on the passage of the new Wildlife
Bill 2011 to reduce the rising cases of poaching
in the East African nation.
The law proposes severe punishment
for poachers and people-led wildlife conservancy
The proposed Wildlife Bill has
also recommended severe crime for poachers since
poaching will be like an organised crime under the
For example, under the proposed
law, offences relating to sport hunting will
attract fine not less than 23,500 U.S. dollars or
imprisonment not less than seven years while other
crimes carry a fine of at least 5,800 dollars and
imprisonment of not less than two years.
The fines are severe than the
existing average of 200 dollars charged for
various wildlife crimes.
Conservationists have argued
that lenient wildlife crime laws are attracting
poachers to traffic animal trophies through
Kenyan because they know that even if they are
arrested, the punishment is not severe.
The KWS has expressed fears that
the scenes of 1970s and 80s when poaching was a
serious menace, and contributed to the depletion
of wildlife including elephants, lions and
rhinos are back, are threatening many years of
conservation efforts and animal populations that
had started to balloon.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is
currently involved in efforts to improve the
capacities of African countries to fight poaching
as well as enabling countries where illegal animal
trophies are destined to improve their capacity to
detect the trophies through their points of entry.
The Cabinet also passed the
Geology, Minerals and Mining Bill and Policy
2012 in recognition of the rapid expansion and
importance of mining in the country.
"This is aimed at providing
a strong legal and institutional framework to
create a value adding mining sector that
benefits local communities, counties, the
government and the mining operators," the
The Bill provides for the
equitable growth of the mining sector and the
sharing of royalties according to the formula of
central government 75 per cent, counties 20
percent and local communities five per cent.
The Mining Policy establishes the
Kenya Mining Corporation that will be the
investment arm of the government and the Kenya
Minerals and Mining Authority that will be the
"This will help mainstream
artisan, small and big-scale mining and will
especially promote mining processing for value
addition," the statement said.
The East African nation intends to
create a robust legal and policy environment to
promote the mining sector.
Environment Minister Chirau
Mwakwere stressed that the East African nation
aims to become a mining hub in the region.
He last week that Kenya is endowed
with a number of mineral resources that contribute
significantly to the socio-economic development of
Analysts say mineral industry in
Kenya cannot therefore develop until laws are
revised and the government can guarantee secure
title of minerals and the required surface
Kenya is yet to fully tap the
immense mineral wealth due to technical and
Mwakwere regretted that poor
infrastructure, inadequate capital and lack of
geological data, shortage of manpower and poor
marketing strategies have undermined the growth of
mining sector In Kenya.
The government has however
invested in modern equipments that include a
drilling rig to be used in mineral exploration
Unexpected delays of many months
to years in obtaining licenses of various types
from government officials, he said, result to a
number of projects involving foreign investors
and major corporations failing to materialize
because of delays, a factor he outlined as
having inhibited mineral production in Kenya.
Importation of equipment and
parts, import tariffs, expatriation of profits,
allocation of foreign exchange and availability of
infrastructure and inhibiting tax regimes are
impediments the professor said need to be
investigated separately and solutions found for