Taita-Taveta Governor Granton Samboja has asked senators to fast-track a petition by his administration seeking to compel Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) to share revenue collected from the twin Tsavo national parks with the county.
Appearing before the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment (CPAIC) on Tuesday, Samboja reiterated that the petition will liberate his people from what he termed as “suppression occasioned by KWS.”
“When my government appeared before this committee in 2019, I sought the assistance of the Senate on a matter that is dear to our people. Taita-Taveta County government has had a challenge in the division of revenue collected from the Tsavo National Park, which forms the largest part of the county government land mass,” the governor said.
“The county notes with concern that despite Article 69(1) granting our people access to revenue generated from natural resources, no guidelines have been put in place to ensure that our people benefit from the revenue collected from the Tsavo National Park,” he added.
Samboja, who was appearing before the committee to answer to audit queries for the 2017/18 financial year, urged senators to back his petition.
On May 16, 2019, Samboja told the committee, then chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’, that his government had written several letters to KWS to explore avenues on how to share the revenue raised from the parks, but the state agency went mute.
But on Tuesday, the Taita Taveta County chief disclosed that the situation had not changed and pleaded with senators to develop legislation that will provide a mechanism for sharing of revenue from the East and West Tsavo National Parks
More than 65 percent of the land in Taita Taveta is occupied by the Tsavo ecosystem, with another 24 percent occupied by private farms and rangelands while only less than 12 percent is left for locals.
The Prisons Department occupies about 1,000 acres near Bura trading center along the Mwatate-Taveta road, and another 100 acres in Voi town, which had been invaded by thousands of squatters.