By K"oyoo Nick
The poaching of East Africa's big five has reached a crescendo and is a monumental scandal that threatens to completely decimate the Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Leopard and other wild species that we have always taken for granted.
This shameless and heartless butchering of Africa's heritage, like a hydra-headed monster, is threatening to consume all of us directly and indirectly.
At the rate of 10 elephants being killed per day in Tanzanian's famous wildlife sanctuaries and 3 per day in Kenya's, it is quite possible that come 2054 in 50 years' time, a child being born in this region today, at 50 years will need to travel to New York, London or Paris to see a Lion in a cage or an Elephant in captive sanctuary.
The wanton destruction of our game did not begin yesterday. It is only that, today, what with the consciousness of the general public, the growth of social media and the general awareness of the fact that our heritage belongs to us all, that pointed questions are being asked of Governments in this region.
The question that comes to mind is how on earth is it possible that poachers are getting away with this illicit and wanton destruction of our heritage under the supposed watch of respective Governments, who thus far have shown themselves as either incompetent, ill equipped or even abetting these crimes of monumental promotions?
The outcry seems to be loudest outside of the Governments to whom people pay taxes and assume that they shall carry out the business of providing security for citizens and the wildlife heritage.
It may sound like repeating an old LP record but the reality is Africa's wild heritage is fast headed for decimation and what is needed and is thus far lacking, is a leader who shall declare as one American President declared, The Buck stops here."
The buck must stop with the Government because inside of the supposed protector lies the perpetrators of these crimes of monumental proportions.
It is not conceivable that an AK-47 carrying individual can access the Selous or the Mara, bring down a 3-tonne elephant, slaughter it for its tusks, get out of the protected area, load the tusks on a ship at Dar es Salaam and sell in Mongolia without being seen by any of the relevant chains of Government departments.
To achieve that feat requires men, resources, weapons, a network of facilitators and authority that can only be found in Governments. Yes there may be all the others out there but the authority that includes usage of Government vehicles, legal authority stamped documents, security agencies and all, can only be effected by people either in power or supremely protected by those we have elected and granted power.
The gate keepers have gone rogue but one cannot forget the interests of the so called conservationists' interests groups from the Western world. Their policies - which have informed our policies, have combined to isolate the very people who share heritage with the wildlife.
Our Wildlife Acts in East Africa are real wild, they are informed by a desire to keep the wildlife safe in pristine environment catered for by veterinarians, helicopters for evacuation and access to migration and feeding corridors. They are completely inimical to the human life conditions that are side by side with the wild.
Give it a thought to the already burdened 'mwananchi' who must watch as a sick lion is air ferried to a sanctuary as their children die of disease and hunger. One can picture why the locals are willing to risk their lives to participate in illegal game poaching.
We have people in public service that should not be; the likes who issue sport hunting licences to Arab Traders like confetti. It is under the guise of these licenses that Tanzania's heritage was carried live animals live in chartered airplanes to the Emirates for the benefit of the ruling elite in both Tanzania and the Sultanate.
It is a feat that cannot be accomplished by a mere gun totting arrow wielding villager. It requires a sophisticated network completely presided over by the very authority vested with protection, the Government. Have Governments failed in this? Yes the Governments have failed and must take responsibility for their failures.
From Bwindi Forest in Uganda where giant Baboons face extinction to the Aberdares in Kenya and Selous in Tanzania, the time has come for new thinking on how to stop the destruction of our heritage.
It may well be the time to go back to traditional systems where the local populations surrounding the reserves and conservancies are paid to ensure that no one tampers with the game. It is our heritage we are talking about here. Neither Prince Charles nor World Wildlife Fund stands to benefit more from this heritage than us.
It is up to this destructive generation to wake up and smell the coffee that we want out progeny to see the elephant wild in Mikumi rather than in a zoo in Amsterdam or New York. The love affair with the Far East must come to an end.
It is China Vietnam and Hong Kong where all our Ivory and Rhino horns are ending up in Markets. We have opened our doors to thousands of contractors but in return we are seeing our elephant populations dwindling.
We do not need to do rocket science to say why our elephants death is linked to the entry of hundreds of thousands of Chinese businessmen in our midst.
History shall judge us cruelly if we do not do the right thing and stop the disappearance of our heritage like we failed with the keeping of our History from our perspective at independence to date.