The newly appointed governor is Joseph Ole Lenku, former Cabinet Secretary Defense and highly influential in the Kenyatta government. His tenure sees a virtual clean sweep for Jubilee Party in Kajiado. Hon Lenku is from the Amboseli area and no stranger to the issues there, especially the human-wildlife conflict and suffering of pastoralist in droughts. He came out with a scathing indictment in a two-page piece in the press of wildlife conservationists ignoring the suffering of pastoralists and farmers. The article sent ripples through the NGO sector and KWS. Fortunately, I got to see him shortly after his induction, accompanied by Benson Laiyan, coordinator of the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, chairman of the Trust, Daniel Lolteris, a close ally of Lenku’s. Jackson Mwato and Johnson Sipitiek, both ACC community officers.
Over the course of an hour I was able to explain to the governor the collaborative efforts in Amboseli and how the community, with its NGO partners and KWS, is addressing the very issues he raised. I also pointed out the underlying causes of the recurring droughts being grazing pressure, and the need to institute land use plans, grazing plans, restoration efforts and livestock development and marketing programs. The governor was persuaded, it seems, especially by the inputs from the Amboseli community. He has agreed to come down and launch the women’s milk cooperative ACC set up and the Nongotiak Resource Centre. He has since taken on Benson Laiyan, Coordinator of the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, as his right-hand person on project delivery. Benson made a start on the governor’s promise of support by bringing down the new county head of Lands and Livestock to an AET meeting last week. The governor’s support holds promise of getting solid attention to the land, grazing management and degradation issues the previous administration had difficulty tackling. He has announced that he will set aside all country holdings as grass banks for supplementary fodder during droughts.