Land owners and residents living near the Maasai Mara game reserve have lauded the County Assembly of Narok for failing to pass a motion that was intended to legalize the Maasai Mara Ecosystem Management Plan.
Led by Meitamei Ololdapash the residents claimed the motion was ill intended to benefit some individuals in the current administration even after their term expires after the August elections.
The motion was fronted by Ildamat Member of County Assembly (MCA) Moses Ole Samate, who is the chairperson of Budget and Appropriations Committee on Wednesday May 18, 2022.
He observed that the proposed Management Plan had thematic focus on wildlife protection, natural resources preservation, land use, opening of wildlife corridors among other sustainable conservation measures.
The MCA mentioned that the draft was first introduced in the Assembly in the year 2016 but has never been adopted and pleaded with MCAs to adapt the report before their term expires.
“The plan will help in recognizing the Game Reserve and conservancies in the area for the welfare of animals and human beings by addressing the human-wildlife conflicts and help the community living around the Mara Ecosystem to benefit from the reserve by ploughing back to community projects part of the money gotten from the game reserve,” read the motion.
He further raised concern over the delayed compensation from wildlife attacks saying the plan will guide on how the ecosystem will share responsibilities with the government not only on compensation but also on finding a lasting solution to other problems facing the locals living around the game reserve.
However, the motion failed to sail through the county assembly as a majority of the MCAs led by Mara Ward MCA Kirrokor Tipapa argued that the local community was not involved in the drafting of the Maasai Mara Ecosystem Management Plan.
Residents of Mara led by Ololdapash said this was the seventh time the issue was being raised but failed because the County government did not involve the local community in its formulation.
“The Maasai Mara is a resource of the Maa people who live around the reserve. This is why the management plan of the Maasai Mara should not be made by a single person,” he said.
Ole Tompoi, a resident of Mara ward said they have been living with the animals since independence and will not allow any regulations to be passed if they are not fully involved as provided by the constitution.
“Living with the wildlife has been our culture since time immemorial. Why is it that today some people sit down somewhere in hotels and come up with documents to regulate us which we were not party to during its formation,” he said.
The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is the major source of local revenue generated by the county government as it generates approximately Sh2.3 billion of the Sh3 billion revenue raised locally according to the county finance department.