By John Muchangi
The government has created a “dream team” to run Kenya Wildlife Service for three months. The team comprises acting KWS director general William Kiprono and senior officials from the ministries of Finance, Environment, Interior and Devolution.
Environment PS Richard Lesiyampe yesterday said the team has come up with measures to revamp KWS within 100 days. “The committee started working yesterday and will be meeting every week to ensure measures identified are effected timely,” he said.
He made the announcement after suspending six top KWS officials including four deputy directors saying they mismanaged their offices and failed to fight poaching yet they had the resources.
KWS has struggled to end runaway poaching. Eighteen rhinos and 59 elephants have been killed this year, mainly in private conservancies. Lesiyampe said 600 rangers will be recruited from next Monday to end the current shortage.
The new dream team however ran into trouble immediately with some staff saying that former KWS “old boys” with vested interests are now micromanaging the service from the Ministry of Environment.
They said the ministry has deliberately failed to appoint a new board since January to run the service independently. Lesiyampe, who worked at KWS for 16 years, also appointed six acting deputy directors to take over the vacant positions.
Robert Muasya will be in charge of security while Nelson Agina will be in charge of finance and administration. Robert Njue was made deputy director in charge of wildlife conservation, Benson Wamaya director of corporate services, James Sambu head of finance department and Gitonga Runo head of supply chain management.
They replace suspended deputy directors Patrick Omondi (wildlife conservation), William Waweru (finance and administration), Julius Kimani (security), Tom Sipul (corporate services), Wesley Isanda (head of finance) and Christopher Oludhe (head of procurement).
Lesiyampe said a new anti-poaching committee will be formed to study and end poaching in Kenya. The dream team has invited the National Intelligence Service to manage KWS intelligence unit and infiltrate poaching networks.
Other proposed changes include use of modern equipment and rehabilitation of fences at Lake Nakuru National Park and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. The ministry said an anti-poaching taskforce headed by former KWS director Nehemiah Rotich will present its full report next month.