Have you ever wondered what transpired behind the Furadan saga and parliaments involvement? Here is what happened on the 2nd of June 2009 in the Kenyan August House:
Mr. Mututho asked the Minister for Forestry and Wildlife: -
(a) whether he is aware of the airing of a damaging documentary on Kenya in the international media on 14th April, 2009 by CBS, a television network in the USA, regarding the death of lions in a Kenyan Park;
(b) whether he could confirm that the pride of seven lions found dead in the parks were as a result of Furadan poisoning; and,
(c) When he will, through NEMA, effect an immediate ban of Furadan chemical, pending further investigations.
The Minister for Forestry and Wildlife (Dr. Wekesa): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) I am aware of the airing of a damaging documentary on Kenya in the international media on 14th April, 2009 by CBS, a television network in the USA, regarding the death of lions in a Kenyan Park.
(b) I can confirm that a pride of three lions died last year in the Mara Triangle as a result of Furadan poisoning, to which the CBS documentary referred.
(c) After the CBS documentary, Farm Machinery and Chemicals (FMC) Corporation, the manufacturers of Furadan stopped further shipment of the product to Kenya. The Corporation is in the process of buying back Furadan stocks in the Kenyan market. In the meantime, my Ministry is spearheading the creation of an inter-Ministerial Committee on Wildlife Poisoning in Kenya, which will provide guidance on the issue
of banning Furadan chemical in the country.
Mr. Mututho: Mr. Speaker, Sir that is a very good answer from the Minister. He has admitted three deaths but they were actually seven. I wish to table the post-mortem results showing that the deaths were seven.
(Mr. Mututho laid the document on the Table)
As late as last week, two more lions died. This was published by the local media. The Question is: When are you banning the product?
Dr. Wekesa: Mr. Speaker, Sir, the issue of banning Furadan involves the Ministry of Agriculture. This is why, in my reply, I have said that an inter-Ministerial Committee has been formed to address the issue. We are aware that Furadan has caused deaths of lions in national parks. We are, therefore, concerned and would like to have it banned.
Mr. Konchella: Mr. Speaker, Sir, while I thank the Minister for that answer, I would like to say that this is a serious matter. Ministers have to be serious. He cannot say that he has to wait and consult another Ministry. They must be able to work and make decisions! They should not delay making decisions on issues that are going to kill institutions in this country. We are going to leave tourism to our neighbors because all the lions are going to die. This thing is widespread. Vultures and hyenas are dying in Isiolo and many parts of the country, where there is wildlife, as a result of this chemical. So, when the Minister says that he is going to consult, to me, it is not the right answer. He should say that the chemical is banned and order every shopkeeper to withdraw it today and not in the near future!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have a problem because of mismanagement. We have directed Questions to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government, who also, is not able to make decisions to stop corruption. In the process, people are killing these animals because they do not see any benefits out of them. Can these two Ministers undertake to protect the wildlife for the benefit of Kenya? These chemicals are being used by people who have no value for these animals because people are taking money as they wish—
Mr. Speaker: Order, Mr. Konchella! What is your question? Ask one question!
Mr. Konchella: Mr. Speaker, Sir, could the Minister immediately stop further use of this chemical, order its withdrawal from every shop and ensure that the police arrest anybody who is stocking the chemical in his or her shop?
Dr. Wekesa: Mr. Speaker, Sir, with due regard to my colleague, we have institutions and I think we should respect them. We have a body called the Pest Control Board that is under the mandate of the Ministry of Agriculture. This is an area for the Minister for Agriculture who has the mandate, through that Board, to actually ban this chemical. I want to give more information in respect to the acquisition of this pesticide. It is so cheap that people who want to use it on their farms acquire it very easily. The pastoralists and people who live around the national parks also get it very cheaply. As a Government, we actually want to ban it.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this committee is not going to take a long time. We will sit together and ensure the chemical is banned.
Mr. Shakeel: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the Minister is not giving us the right answer. There is the Poisons Board and this is poison which has killed our lions and other animals. What is the Minister doing to ban it? We have less than 600 lions in this country. Seven of them have died. Each lion is worth over Kshs10 million, are we going to sue the company that sells this chemical?
Dr. Wekesa: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I sympathize with the Member for Kisumu Town East. However, I want to assure him and the House that this is a matter that we are taking very seriously. The Pharmacy and Poisons Board that he is referring to is under the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. As I said, we are going to ban the chemical. The company which manufactures this chemical is in the process of buying back Furadan stocks in the Kenyan market.
So, the company is actually withdrawing Furadan from the market.
Mr. Ngugi: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I come from an agricultural constituency and we have used Furadan for the last 30 years. Furadan could have caused the death of seven lions but is it the only chemical in Kenya that can kill lions or are we going to ban every other chemical that can kill lions? Could this be a trade war just as we saw with the Alvaro drink?
Dr. Wekesa: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have other chemicals that are poisonous to wildlife. I, therefore, agree with the Member that it is not only Furadan. There are many others, for instance,Scenic which is very poisonous to livestock and wild animals. However, what actually happens is that the people who use Furadan are usually retaliating for their animals having been killed by the lions. They put the chemical on the carcasses and when the lions come to feed on them, they feed on poisoned carcasses.
Mr. C. Kilonzo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, now that the Minister has confirmed that this is an illegal act by farmers killing the lions, what is the Government doing to apprehend the farmers?
Dr. Wekesa: Mr. Speaker, Sir, in quite a number of cases, we have arrested the culprits and they have been taken to court. In some of the cases we have had to take action. When we do that, they do agree that they actually did it.
Dr. Nuh: Mr. Speaker, Sir, since the Minister has confirmed that the act of using poisons against wild animals is retaliation by farmers or those who live next to the national parks, what is he doing to better the relationship between the animals and the people who live near the parks? The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has not been kind to the people.
Dr. Wekesa: Mr. Speaker, Sir that is a very good question. I want to confirm to the House that, along with other measures we try, for example, to fence our national parks. We have done that in many national parks. However, we have also undertaken civic education to educate those living near our national parks about the dangers and advantages of having wildlife around us. It is an ongoing process of educating people that this is a natural resource and we must conserve it.
Mr. Speaker: Last question, Mr. Mututho!
Mr. Mututho: Mr. Speaker, Sir, now that the Minister has admitted that FMCC is withdrawing the chemical from the market, which amounts to admission of public liability, how much is he planning to demand in compensation for the big and small wildlife and livestock lost as a result of poisoning?
Dr. Wekesa: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we do not have plans to sue FMCC, but individuals that are concerned, if they so wish, the Government is willing to assist them do so.
Mr. Shakeel: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Is the Minister in order to say that they have no plans to sue for compensation for loss of property of the Kenyan people?
Mr. Speaker: Order, Mr. Shakeel! The Minister is in order! He is entitled to give an answer that he believes to be correct. So, if he says that they have no intention to sue, that is a good answer. Nothing out of order.