by | Nov 5, 2018 | Articles

Narok Let’s Talk

Author: Joseph Koikai

Maasai Mara is a unique trans-border heritage site for both Kenya and Tanzania. It lies within the Narok County on the Kenyan side, but the communities that inhabit the area around Mara, cannot be involved in economic activities that would jeopardize or threaten its existence. The County Government had to look for a way of cushioning the people living around Maasai Mara and ensure they greatly benefit from the park albeit it’s effect on the communities’ economic activities.

The county government sets aside 19% of all revenue collected from the Maasai Mara National Reserve and devotes it to support the communities in Narok County on issues such as conservation, infrastructural development, wealth creation and in fight against poverty and county functions under the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of Kenya at Ward Level. The percentage is calculated on the basis of the park entry fee as in the audited financial statement of the preceding year.

However, recently, demonstrators from the Maasai ethnic group, clad in traditional red cloaks,, marched to the gates of Governor Samuel Tunai’s office, protesting against the local governor, accusing him of misappropriating tourism funds from the Maasai Mara game reserve,

His county government defended him against the allegation that he had looted proceeds of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Office of Auditor-General and EACC investigated the graft claims, which the governor successfully defended himself against and further argued that opposition led group was fighting to control county resources using crude ways. “The county government law does not allow counties to spend local income at the source and hence county officials have no access to the Maasai Mara income as claimed.” Said a county official

The funds have benefited local community through funding development projects, park conservation, compensating residents on losses brought about by the wild animals, poverty eradication and assisting students in secondary schools, colleges and universities with bursaries. A committee has been set up to ensure equity and fairness in disbursement funds among other social benefits, consisting of religious, political, government and social leaders from all parts of the county who verify that those who benefit are local residents and the needy people in the society. This was after a series of complaints from locals on cases of nepotism, corruption and unfairness in distribution of it’s benefits to the local community.

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