Being a natural resource specialist, many people have been asking me about the seemingly illogical bill to regulate (in Kenya, that basically means “strangle”) beekeeping. We must read more widely, because if you don’t very little will make sense in Kenya and so much evil will escape our notice. Remember the farm bill, a couple of years ago, when we were told that the application of farmyard manure was to be proscribed? Don’t you recall the “Dairy bill”, which proposed to ban rural dairy farmers (like my neighbor) selling milk to their neighbours (like me)? As is typical with fishy things in Kenya, all these bills are couched in copious amounts legal fluff and nonsense which baffles whoever chooses to try and understand them in isolation.
Now to the natural resource/ conservation sector, the extra fishy field of my specialization. For decades now, conservation policy and practice in Kenya has been driven by avaricious western interests whose target is our land. Our beautiful wildlife is just the (very effective) tool they have chosen to implement this scheme. Earlier this year, Kenyan conservationists demonstrated their ‘whiteness’ by shouting and breaking wind (due to pressure the diaphragm on the abdomen) over a 180 acre avocado farm on the boundary of Amboseli National park. NEMA obliged and for the first time since I started observing these things, I saw an agricultural project halted for “environmental concerns”. I instantly knew that the owners were ‘black’. In this context I mean local Kenya citizens without any ‘foreign investor’ backing the project. Lets talk agriculture and natural ecosystems: In 2010 Mumias sugar company wanted to farm sugarcane in 40,000 hectares of the Tana Delta (prime wildlife habitat and pasture). NEMA didn’t stop it, and it only stalled because the communities threatened the “investors” with violence (see https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/general/article/2000006314/farming-stalls-as-residents-threaten-investors.) I can name the PhD scientists who signed a pathetic environmental impact assessment document stating that there was no significant impact on biodiversity despite the well-known number of endemic aquatic and terrestrial species there. This is over 400 times the size of the avocado farm, and the carbon/ water footprint is huge. Another one is the 10,000 acre Galana Kulalu white elephant which collapsed, but under the weight of corruption, not any protests by conservationists (see https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2019-07-09-designed-to-fail-why-galana-kulalu-project-collapsed/). This is over 50 times the size of the KiliAvo farm in Amboseli. These all threatened wildlife habitats, but the only difference in that KiliAvo made the mistake of threatening a “white space” (read: a recreational area enjoyed by foreign tourists and investors). The actual threat to habitat was just a (poor) excuse for apartheid, and the authorities fell for it. All the noise the scientists are making is covered as the “Prostitution of Science” in chapter 6 ‘The Big Conservation Lie’.
Now back to honey. Beekeeping is one of the key black (read: indigenous) use of (otherwise ‘protected’) forests and riparian areas. It is listed against the reasons to fence forests, it is one of the reasons that the Ogiek people need to stay in their forested ancestral homes. Pastoralism is being strangled (with the assistance of conservation organizations) because it is the key link in the fabric that binds Maasai, Samburu, Rendille, people etc to their homelands, denying a free pass to white activities like sport hunting, world championship rallies, and “Karen Blixen model” tourism. In a very rich irony, conservationists are shocked at the honey bill, because it interferes with one of the ‘alternative livelihoods’ they have been using to kill pastoralist livestock production. Conservationists should suck their lemons in peace and stop whining. They should actually be flattered that the government of Kenya recognized the efficacy of their destruction of indigenous livelihoods as a subjugation method. Now you can understand the dairy bill. When you know just how much money pastoralists make from sale of manure to farmers, youwill also understand the farm bill. Social evils in Kenya are deeply interconnected.
Let us treat conservationists with the same degree of caution that our ancestors should have applied to missionaries. We must question their methods, words, and objectives. We must also read widely and in depth. These people are just as bad for our social fabric as missionaries were 150 years ago, but at least today have the benefit of knowledge. Aluta Continua.
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