Illegal Donkey Skin Trade Persists in Kenya Despite Government Ban

MOYALE – The persistent illegal trade of donkey skins, despite a government-imposed prohibition, is raising concerns in Kenya, particularly in Taita Taveta County.

According to Kenya News Agency, a workshop organized by the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) in collaboration with Germany’s Weltierschutzgesellschaft (WTG) in Moyale town, approximately 10,000 donkey skins were exported to China from Kenya last year, flouting the existing ban.

Dr. Dennis Bahati of ANAW highlighted the rampant bush slaughter of donkeys, notably in areas like Kajiado, Nakuru, Kiambu, and Naivasha, driven by the demand for donkey hides in China for the production of ejiao. Despite the government’s revocation of export licenses for donkey abattoirs, Dr. Bahati stressed the urgency of establishing stricter laws and policies, echoing a resolution from the African Union Assembly to halt the inhumane donkey skin trade continent-wide.

The repercussions of this illicit trade extend beyond animal welfare, posing severe health hazards as unregulated donkey meat potentially enters the food supply chain. Kenya’s donkey population has alarmingly declined from 1.8 million in 2009 to just over half a million, threatening not only the species’ survival but also the livelihoods dependent on these animals, particularly in pastoralist communities.

Ms. Hawo Huka Gullied, representing a local donkey welfare association, emphasized the integral role donkeys play in daily tasks such as water and firewood transportation, especially in regions with limited conventional transport options. The burgeoning black market for donkey skins undermines these communities’ resilience and economic stability.

Authorities, including Moyale sub-county veterinary officer Hassan Nura, have reported a surge in donkey smuggling and illegal slaughtering activities, particularly since the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. Legal loopholes currently allow for the unfettered movement and slaughter of donkeys, necessitating immediate legislative intervention to prevent further exploitation and ensure public health safety.

The call to action extends to the media, urged to raise awareness and support efforts to combat this clandestine trade, reinforcing the need for comprehensive legal reforms to protect both animal welfare and community livelihoods in Kenya.

Kiplagat and Kibor Triumph at Inaugural Kapsabet Half Marathon

KAPSABET – Amos Kiplagat and Marion Kibor emerged victorious in the Kapsabet Half Marathon’s 21km events, marking a significant milestone in their athletic careers and the inception of this notable race in Nandi County.

According to Kenya News Agency, Kiplagat executed a strategic finish, overtaking competitors in the final kilometers to secure his win with a time of 62:47.7, edging out Robert Keter and Joshua Kimutai who placed second and third respectively. Post-race, Kiplagat expressed his elation and anticipation for future competitions, acknowledging the race as a pivotal preparation for his athletic journey.

In the women’s category, Marion Kibor demonstrated her prowess by finishing first with a time of 71:34.56, outpacing Gladys Singor and Joan Chepkosgei. Kibor’s victory is a testament to her dedication and potential in the realm of long-distance running, as she looks forward to leveraging this success in future events.

The marathon also featured a 10km race where Daniel Kinyanjui and Pamela Kosgei claimed the top spots in the men’s and women’s categories, showcasing the depth of talent across various distances.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang highlighted the marathon’s significance as a celebration of local athleticism and commitment to supporting emerging talent. The event, themed ‘Run green, run clean,’ emphasized ethical competition and environmental consciousness, aligning with broader community values and the aspirations of participating athletes.

Sponsored by Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM), the Kenya Tourism Board, and Athletics Kenya, the marathon aims to nurture athletic talent and provide a platform for athletes to compete and excel. CITAM Bishop David Oginde emphasized the race’s role in promoting integrity and perseverance among young athletes, urging them to aspire to excellence without succumbing to unethical practices.

The event, which began at Nandi Bears Club and concluded at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Kapsabet, not only celebrated athletic achievement but also served as a community-building endeavor, reinforcing messages of clean competition and personal integrity.

Taita Taveta County Launches Advanced Emergency Operations Centre

VOI – Taita Taveta County, in a significant step towards enhancing its disaster management capabilities, has initiated the construction of an advanced Emergency Operations Centre in Voi. This initiative, led by County Governor Andrew Mwadime in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) Governor Geoffrey Korir, represents a crucial advancement in the region’s approach to disaster preparedness and response. The groundbreaking event took place at the Vindo Show Ground, marking the commencement of a project valued at Sh 22 million.

According to Kenya News Agency, the new facility will integrate state-of-the-art technology to enable efficient disaster response, including rapid communication and data processing to manage various emergencies effectively. The governor highlighted the frequent challenges faced by the county, such as road accidents, fires, floods, droughts, and human-wildlife conflicts, underscoring the importance of the centre in mitigating these incidents.

KRCS Governor Geoffrey Korir outlined the centre’s strategic significance, which will extend its services beyond Taita Taveta, benefiting the entire Coast and Eastern Regions, particularly in addressing emergencies along the critical Nairobi-Mombasa highway. The facility will act as a coordination hub for various response teams, including emergency medical services and wildlife authorities, to provide timely interventions during crises.

The collaboration between the county government and KRCS also aims to bolster community resilience, with plans to introduce additional resources such as a youth center and a training institute to tackle issues like drug abuse and enhance local emergency response skills. Furthermore, Governor Korir proposed the establishment of an innovation center to spur economic development and generate revenue within the county.

Acknowledging the essential need for rapid response infrastructure, Korir emphasized the importance of having adequate space for facilities like helicopter landing areas, crucial for evacuating individuals requiring urgent medical attention. The partnership between Taita Taveta County and the Kenya Red Cross Society exemplifies a unified commitment to safeguarding lives and fostering sustainable development through improved disaster readiness.

CS Duale Advocates for Religious Harmony at Mombasa Quran Competition

MOMBASA – In a notable gathering at the Serani Sports Ground for the Mombasa International Grand Quran Competition, Cabinet Secretary for Defence Aden Duale expressed the Kenyan government’s dedication to fostering religious tolerance and highlighted the administration’s recognition of religious diversity.

According to Kenya News Agency, who spoke during the event organized by the Mombasa County Government, the initiative underscores President Ruto’s respect for various religious convictions. The competition attracted not only local leaders, including Principal Secretary for Transport Mohamed Daghar and several MPs and a senator, but also esteemed Muslim scholars from around the world, thereby reinforcing the message of unity and mutual respect among different faiths.

During his address, Duale reflected on his advocacy efforts for Muslim rights in Kenya over the past fifteen years, celebrating the current government’s inclusive approach to religion. He stressed the significance of balanced education, urging parents to invest in both secular and religious learning for their children, emphasizing the Quran’s role in fostering ethical values and national progress.

The Mombasa International Grand Quran Competition, which intends to be an annual Ramadan event under Governor Nassir’s administration, saw participation from over 115 contenders across East Africa and beyond, focusing on Quranic memorization. The event not only highlighted religious education but also promoted intercultural dialogue, with the finals featuring 22 individuals who excelled in memorizing the Quran.

Kabito Abdulkarim from Somalia received the top honor, winning a substantial cash prize, while Kenya’s Hanif Abdi was honored as the runner-up. Through such recognition and rewards, the event celebrated the dedication of the youth to religious study and aimed to inspire broader community engagement in interfaith understanding and cooperation.

Murang’a Tea Farmers Attribute KTDA Election Delays to Legal Battles

MURANG’A – Tea farmers from four factories in Murang’a county have expressed their frustration over delayed elections for new Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) directors, attributing the holdup to ongoing court cases.

According to Kenya News Agency, Gatunguru, Kanyenyaini, and Githambo tea factories, litigation initiated by former directors has impeded the implementation of critical reforms within the sector.

The elections, initially scheduled for last year, have been stymied by 11 separate legal actions, preventing the necessary leadership transition and the advancement of proposed sector improvements. Farmers, including representatives Wambugu Gachunji, Julius Muraya, and Johnson Maina, argue that the legal disputes fostered by ousted directors have effectively frozen the reform process, undermining operational stability at KTDA.

These grievances were voiced during a gathering at Kahatia market, where the farmers highlighted the adverse impact of the prolonged legal confrontations on both the agency’s functioning and the broader tea farming community. They assert that the continued litigious environment not only drains KTDA’s financial resources but also stalls initiatives aimed at enhancing farmer earnings and operational efficiency.

Amidst the legal wrangling, the farmers have voiced their support for the current KTDA leadership under Chairman Enos Njeru, appreciating the incremental benefits realized thus far, including improved monthly payments for their produce. They urge the former directors to concede, withdrawing their court challenges to facilitate the much-needed elections and subsequent reforms.

Conversely, former director Charles Kamure contends that the allegations of the current board members are misleading, arguing that the ongoing cases do not obstruct the election process but rather expose governance issues within KTDA. Kamure insists that the legal actions are not aimed at halting progress but ensuring accountability and transparency within the organization.

The situation underscores a broader debate on the future of tea sector governance in Kenya, reflecting the tension between past and present leadership and the urgent call for reforms to uplift the welfare of tea farmers in the region.