CS Balala apologises for ‘go to hell’ outburst over rhino deaths

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has apologised to Kenyans for his ‘go to hell’ outburst made on Monday.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Tuesday to answer questions on the deaths of 10 black rhinos in a translocation exercise at the Tsavo East National Park, Balala apologized for the remarks blaming it on emotions.

“I regret that I did that outburst and I highly apologize, it was out of pain that I am being let down by my system that did not act quickly and we lost 10 rhinos. My intention is not to abuse Kenyans,” said Balala.

He said that he was responding to individuals that were nasty to him regarding the deaths of the rhinos.

The CS also expressed regret for dragging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s name into the unfortunate incident, adding that he was answerable to the people of Kenya through the Legislature and the Executive.

“I do regret dragging the president’s name,” he added.

Of the 11 rhinos that were moved, only one remains at the Tsavo East National Park under close observation.

The CS has already suspended six Kenya Wildlife Service officials over what he described as negligence on their part.

Among those suspended include the service’s Deputy Director in-charge of Biodiversity, Research and Monitoring, Samuel Kasiki, who according to a report tabled by a six-member probe team failed to coordinate research-line departments at the Kenya Wildlife Service leading to poor decision-making.

Others suspended pending disciplinary action are Francis Gakuya, the Head of Veterinary and Capture Services, Isaac Leekolol, Head of Capture Services, Felix Mwangangi the Senior Warden Tsavo East National Park, Mohammed Omar, Head of Ecological Monitoring, and Fredrick Odock Lala, Senior Scientist at the Tsavo East National Park.

Balala in consultation with KWS board chair has also appointed Dr. Charles Musyoki as AG Director General, Dr Patrick Omondi Ag Director of Bio Diversity and Julius Kimani who reverts to his previous position as Director of Parks and Reserves.

The Kenya Veterinary Association has faulted Balala for the suspensions saying that the officers were not directly linked to the rhino translocation process.

Meanwhile, all translocations have been put on hold until the death of the rhinos is determined

“Only one postmortem on the dead rhinos is remaining so that we can compare the results and establish the cause to the death of the rhinos. It is very clear that there was negligence in the translocation of the 11 rhinos. From 1996_ date… Kenya has translocated 288 rhinos and 36 died. We have approximately 1200 rhinos in the country and we need to very careful with the rate at which they are dying,” CS Balala.

  

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