A group of Azimio la Umoja supporters in Narok County have sharply opposed an attempt by the Narok County Assembly to debate a motion on the renewal of the management agreement between the County Government of Narok and the Mara Conservancy limited on the collection of revenue at the Mara Triangle.
The supporters led by Narok North Member of Parliament Moitalel Ole Kenta wondered why the current administration under the leadership of Governor Samuel Tunai was pushing for the renewal of the contract without holding any public participation.
The motion was tabled for the third time at the Narok County Assembly by Ildamat ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Rapanke Samante but failed to be debated due to lack of quorum as only ten out of 47 members were in the house.
The ten members present in the house were those aligned to the Azimio la Umoja team, with sources revealing that the other members were meeting in a hotel outside the county.
The Mara Triangle is separated from the rest of the Maasai Game Reserve by the Mara River and is one third of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve with an area of 510 square Kilometers.
The other part of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve is managed by the County Government.
Should the motion sail through the County Assembly, the contract to manage the Mara Triangle part of the Maasai Mara Game reserve managed by the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) will be extended for the next 30 years.
The Mara Conservancy Limited was awarded the contract by the defunct Trans Mara County Council 20 years ago, with an objective to effectively manage the Mara River, the annual wildebeest migration and zebra migratory phenomenon and conserve the environment.
But the idea to renew the contract that is coming to an end this year has taken a political turn with the Kenta-led team alleging that Governor Tunai has personal interest in the contract.
Kenta who spoke at a hotel in Narok town Wednesday was accompanied by Senior Counsel Martin Kamwaro, Allan Ming’ati, Maasai Council of elders’ chairman Kelena Ole Nchoe among other politicians.
The second term MP and gubernatorial candidate said the billions of shillings collected at the Maasai Mara game reserve were going to individual people’s pockets and do not benefit the local community that peacefully coexist with the wild animals.
“In case the MCAs pass the bill, we will use all legal measures to bring it down because it is not for the benefit of the residents but only a few individuals,” he said.
Kamwaro on his part reiterated that the Mara Triangle was a creation of few individuals who wanted to exploit the people in the county by benefiting from the revenue generated in the conservancy at the expense of the other citizens.
“We are the custodian of the Maasai Mara game reserve and anything concerning the Mara should have adequate and consultative public participation. In this case, we were not consulted yet the MCAs want to pass it at the County Assembly,” said Kamwaro.
The religious leaders led by National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK) Narok Chapter chairman Rev. Samuel Naikumi also condemned the attempt by the County Assembly to debate the motion saying it was undermining the residents of the county who have lived peacefully with the wild animals for many years.
Rev. Naikumi asked the MCAs to consult widely in their respective wards before debating the matter in the County Assembly as it was a weighty matter that concerned all the residents of the county.
The Maasai Mara Game reserve is the main source of local revenue in the county as it is estimated to generate over Sh2.5 billion per year.