The other day, I watched the "Poachers and Butchers" investigative piece by KTN's Dennis Onsarigo and it just drove me nuts! I may not be an expert in analyzing the details but for sure, my understanding would not lie that there is much truth in it. Truth that, somebody somewhere, so influential, affluential, and powerful is sitting at the throne of the "Kenya Wildlife Poaching Kingdom." It is in no doubt that the unemployed Kenyans have so much pride and satisfaction getting employed and manning "our" wild animals from killing by fellow poor Kenyans, while making sure that the animals are poached by the "Kingpins" as Onsarigo puts it. What made me convinced over this claim are the series of explanations Onsarigo gives; first, the controversies surrounding the killings of people linked to have information about the "powerful" people involved in poaching, second, the fact that poachers carrying ivory or rhino horns always escape but the rest are always shot, the "obsolete" weaponry found with poachers, and lastly but not least, the poaching occurs in most secure parks and sanctuaries of Kenya. Certainly, an higher authority must be in the know-how of all these!
Coincidentally, I read another shocking revelation on the linkage of Al-Shabaab to ivory trade. The Al-Shabaab have great connections in East Africa especially Kenya, where they manage to trade in ivory in the most lucractive exchanges ever witnessed. According to Kalron, the article author, this might be the reason why the Al-Shabaab never get short of finances to purchase heavy machinery and take care of its men:
A quick calculation puts Shabaab’s monthly income from ivory at between US$200,000 and US$600,000. Maintaining an army of roughly 5,000 men, each earning US$300 USD, demands at least US$1,500,000 a month, of which the ivory trade can supply a big chunk of it.
So, somebody could ask how the two stories connect? The answer is very simple; remember the Kenyan army (KDF) has been deployed in Somalia to "finish" the Al-Shabaab, meaning the Al-Shabaab is deemed a big enemy by Kenya. Secondly, Onsarigo's investigative piece links powerful, and well-informed Kenyans to the ivory trade, where we have seen that the the Kenyan enemy (i.e. Al-Shabaab) is one of the intermediaries. I mean, why can't the government and responsible authorities take this chance to weaken Al-Shabaab financial sources, because it is clear that ivory is furnishing them? Could it be that fighting Al-Shabaab in Somalia is another "cover-up" tactic as the one reported in Onsarigo's "Poachers and Butchers?" While the ordinary Mwanakenya is advised to use Wildleaks in reporting the crimes, methinks it is time to demand for not only answers, but the RIGHT answers as to "Who is Fooling Who?"
-Abednego Osindi (Bsc. Environmental Science, UoN)-
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