KWS headquarters was a beehive of activity, Friday 9th December, 2022, with the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Hon. Penina Malonza leading management and staff in a tree-planting exercise.
The CS said that KWS staff were the first group of workers under her docket she was interacting with since her appointment, noting that Kenya was just recovering from a severe drought which had impacted greatly on wildlife populations in the country.
Hon. Malonza stressed the importance of her familiarization tour, saying that she was extremely impressed to view six lions, as well as four out of the Big Five wildlife species and many others, domiciled within “The World’s Only Wildlife Capital,” Nairobi National Park. The CS pledged to minimize the challenges which plague workers, further appreciating the exemplary work done by KWS employees. She stressed the importance of enhancing KWS Rangers’ welfare, due to the extraneous nature of their duties, averring that there was need to explore ways to motivate them.
The CS thanked various conservation development partners, stating that the Government would continue to collaborate with the partners. Ms. Malonza said it was imperative for citizens to heed President Ruto’s clarion call to meet the 5 billion trees planted quota. She noted that Africa is one of the casualties of climate change, encouraging regular tree and grass planting activities to mitigate these harsh effects. The CS urged all tree planters to not only plant, but also develop personal relationships with the trees they plant.
The Principal Secretary, State Department of Wildlife, Sylvia Museiya, said that her office has data that demonstrates that tourism is the second biggest GDP earner in Kenya, and that wildlife is the biggest contributor to tourism, making KWS – the institution mandated to conserve Kenya’s wildlife, a key player in which the Ministry holds much interest. The PS pledged support to KWS and requested for ideas from staff on how to grow KWS into a bigger and stronger entity, further requesting staff’s support and cooperation to achieve this goal. She stated that the President desired a working country with tangible deliverables, and the onus to deliver was on the Ministry and KWS.
Principal Secretary, State Department of Tourism, John Ololtuaa, said he was honoured to accompany the CS to KWS, adding that he particularly enjoyed the early-morning game drive at the Nairobi National Park. He urged staff to continue with their positive conservation attitude, because tourism comprises marketing and development of products, and marketing the KWS product is of critical importance. “I am aware that the Tourism Promotion Fund has played a critical role in the infrastructural development, and we aim to do more in terms of new tourism products; above all, in terms of how we can provide efficient services in this sector which has earned us the name Magical Kenya,” he said.
The CS introduced the incoming Acting KWS Director General, Dr. Erustus Kanga, HSC, who said that he had worked for 17 years in the Service, and is thus well known to staff, adding that the idea for the tree-planting activity actually originated from KWS staff. Dr. Kanga said 800 holes had been dug in the KWS headquarters grounds in preparation for the planting, and the target was to plant more than 4,000 trees. He further stated that the exercise was also a familiarization tour for the CS and her team to be formally introduced to staff.
Also present during the tree-planting was KWS’ Senior Management and staff from the headquarters, Airwing and Central Workshop.
This activity was in keeping with the December 6th proclamation by the President of Kenya - Dr. William Samoei Ruto, that all public engagements presided over by the President, Deputy President, Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, and all other cadres of state or public officers be marked by the planting of a designated number of trees under various categories of between 200 to 500 seedlings.