The Marketplace in Marseille

Heads up- Do you know any conservationist who was in Marseille, France in the last couple of weeks? If you’re a conscious African citizen, you need to ask them exactly what they were doing and what they discussed at the IUCN world Conservation congress there. Personally, I was there as part of a group organizing resistance to the relentless advance of colonialism under the guise of conservation throughout the global south. Like most Conservation conferences today, this meeting was full of back-slapping and self-congratulatory nonsense exchanged between celebrities, politicians and business people. It is the ultimate irony because this is the group of people most responsible for the consumption patterns that have landed the world in the climate predicament we see today. Firstly, they created the most effective filter to keep out people from global south (where most biodiversity exists), the students who may be learning new scientific lessons on conservation, and the independent minded practitioners who may be there to share their views, rather than prostitute their faces status and credentials to the needs of their benefactors. This filter was the registration fee. The cheapest rate was the “special members fee” which was 780 Euros (slightly over Ksh. 100,000/- at today’s rates). While most of the Kenyan conservationists are now back from Marseille gushing to all and sundry about the beauty of the South of France (which is true), I am back home a worried man, even more perturbed than I was before, about the march of colonialism under the guise of conservation. To any African proud of his heritage, this worry is only made worse by the unending line of homeguards and uncle toms lining up and singing for places and positions from which they can eat some crumbs and leftovers from massa’s table in the form of small jobs, big cars and trips to conferences at which they will be prominent by their dark complexions, rather than the intellectual content of their contributions. These heritage salesmen and women will call themselves all sorts of fancy titles, but their brains are of no consequence to the European Colonizers. They are as much props as the obviously (physically, mentally or both??) uncomfortable woman unfortunate (or foolish?) enough to have her ridiculous image carrying a pangolin on the blueprint for the new scramble for Africa.

The biggest thing out of Marseille was the EUs grand plan to capture Africa’s natural heritage through a program called “NaturaAfrica”, and here is the link to the document Since they know that they have selected partners in Africa to whom prostitution comes easily, they couched this announcement in noise about ‘doubling of funding for conservation” on their twitter handle

In the first photo, you can see Mr. Philip Mayoux from the EU presenting the audacious grand plan. He expressly stated that they are going to use the “Northern Rangelands Trust model” which has served them well thus far. I’ve been saying for the last 5 years that NRT is a model for colonialism and some invertebrates here have been breaking wind in consternation at my disrespect to their cult. The financiers have now said that it is a pilot for their planned acquisition of Africa’s natural heritage. What say you now? Who’s in charge of the plantation? Do the naïve majority now understand the violence in Northern Kenya? Do the naïve majority now understand why foreign special forces are training armed personnel (outside our state organs) to guard the so-called conservancies? Following this extravagant declaration by Mayoux the CEO of NRT, Mr. Tom Lalampaa, barely containing his joy, took the stage and gushed that “NaturAfrica will be welcomed by all Africans” as Mayoux looked on indulgently.

It is only the irrational excitement that comes from massa’s praises that can make a mere NGO director purport to speak for the 1.3 billion inhabitants of the world’s second largest continent. Kwenda huko! (‘get out of here!’ for my non-swahili speaking readers) we can see through the scheme. In the close up of the map, you can see the takeover plan (darks green areas).

Tsavo, Amboseli (in Southern Kenya) and Mkomazi in northern Tanzania is a colony of the WWF “Unganisha” program In the west, there is the The Nature Conservancy colony consisting of the Maasai Mara wildlife conservancies association in Kenya, and the Northern Tanzania Rangelands Initiative in Tanzania. The rest are the NRT colony (including the rift valley, which is clearly marked) and the oil fields in Northern Kenya. East Africa’s entire Indian Ocean seascape is marked for acquisition, and spare a thought for the Island nations therein, because they have been swallowed whole. The plan has already been implemented around the Seychelles and documented I will repeat this as often as necessary:- The biggest threat to the rights and sovereignty of African people in the 21st century is not military conflict or terrorism or disease, hunger, etc. It is Conservation organizations, even governments that seek to dominate us come through conservation. They will bring their expatriates, their militaries, and their policies. If you look at the map, the relatively “free” countries like Nigeria, Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan, Somalia, etc are those where international conservation NGOs haven’t been able to get a foothold. Here in Kenya, our state agency KWS is busy counting animals, not knowing that they are well on the way to becoming irrelevant spectators in our conservation arena. If you think this is far- fetched, ask someone there why there are radioactive materials dumped by Naromoru gate to Mt. Kenya National Park. Or why KFS is standing by without any policy position while the Rhino Ark goes about fencing Mt. Kenya forest- a UNESCO world heritage site.

Has anyone asked the EU why this grand plan isn’t global, but only focused on Africa? Are there no conservation concerns in Europe, Asia, or the Americas? Ours is the land of opportunity and this is why they want it. The funding will facilitate immigration and pay to employ the expatriates that will look after their interests in our homelands. Their militias will keep us out of our lands which they need for ‘carbon credits’ so their industries and emissions can continue unabated. Lastly, they need our land for export dumping of their household rubbish, toxic wastes, and most of all radioactive materials. This is obviously a continental initiative, but addressing my compatriots (Kenyans), can you now see what I have been talking about for years, even as the European colonists tell Maasais, Samburus and other pastoralist communities that they shouldn’t listen to me because I am Luo? Can you now see how miniscule that school of thought is, how easily you have been diverted to discussing irrelevant minutiae vis a vis the scale of their grand plan?

As I said in the beginning, my mission, together with colleagues in Survival International, is the de-colonization of conservation in Africa and the global south. The violence and routine violation of indigenous people’s rights is the most visible symptom that brought this problem to our notice, but we must understand that the violence isn’t just for sport, as much as these organizations revel so much in it. Like the 18th and 19th century colonialism, it is a commercial venture that is just followed by political aims because it is too big to remain private. When Leopold’s Belgians massacred people in Congo, it wasn’t just for sport (although at some point it looked like that) – they were there to collect rubber and other resources. The conservation militias don’t just kill indigenous Africans for sport, they are here to protect colonies on behalf of capital interests. It is not about the wildlife, that is just the window dressing. After all, the people and the wildlife were here for thousands of years before we had militias.

This is why we cannot afford to give up. Its not just about biodiversity, but about our identity, our resources and our children. This is why we must fight intellectually to develop our own conservation philosophy and reject this paranoid, violent, and elitist western model that is based on ‘Tarzan’. In order to restore the rights of indigenous peoples, we must tackle the reason why they are being oppressed, tortured and sometimes killed. It is commerce. Conservation is just the attire in which it is clothed.

Find an African who was in Marseille, and ask him or her what they were doing there. If they cannot demonstrate what they said against this colonial project, they had better show you a lot of photos of them shopping and spending a wonderful holiday in the south of France. If they cannot come up with either of these, then they were in France selling or facilitating the sale of our heritage to corporate pirates.

We accept carbon trading, because we have no idea what it is

“When a wealthy criminal murders a person in Europe, he can pay a broker a lot of money to go to an  African country and frame an innocent man into spending the rest of his life in prison while the family he can longer provide for are given a few handout crumbs to make them forget the loss of the father, husband and livelihood. The family never even get to know the heinous crime done in Europe for which their kin has been incarcerated. For a few more coins, the government of the African country hands over the running of the judiciary, so the European broker can prosecute and jail as many people as he wants. This is a recipe for massive financial profits as the depraved and wealthy European criminals can now live out all their cruel fantasies and fetishes, knowing that there is an endless supply of African innocents to be incarcerated on their behalf”.

The above story is not true. It is just a fictitious dystopian allegory that I have created to describe the global criminal enterprise known as carbon credits, or carbon trade. I needed a simple story to break it down, because spurious complexity and deliberate obfuscation are the hallmarks of all great scams of  our times. Whenever someone questions it, he can be dismissed with the statement “You don’t unsderstand…” Now, substitute the European criminal with a polluting industry, and the innocent African is simply that- An innocent person living in rural Africa, dependent on in situ natural resources for his survival and livelihood. The brokers are all the big conservation NGOs plying the carbon trade that are almost worshipped by all and sundry. The same ones who hold environmentally destructive festivals of offroad driving, drink and debauchery to fund their fencing projects. It is crucial to understand the neurosis of fencing and the obsession around it; In Africa, carbon credits can only accrue from lands where black people have been removed and fenced out. It doesn’t matter how many trees are on it, you cannot get credits if there are black people living there and using it. If there are white tourists at an exclusive lodge with a huge carbon footprint on the land, its no problem, the broker still get the credits and sells them for large sums of money. The key to money laundering is to talk up the value of, and sell something intangible (unaccountable) that you do not produce, and cannot be accounted for. At a lower, more primitive level, we had the traditional short lived schemes that took their name from the swindler Charles Ponzi in the 1920s. The longevity and success of these scams is directly proportional to their complexity and the creation of an ethereal “commodity” that is bizarrely “traded” between two people, neither of whom can ever claim ownership thereof. Carbon trade is perfect in this sense and it would be an entertaining irritant like cryptocurrencies. The greatest challenge with carbon trade is that it requires the oppression and disenfranchisement of communities in Africa in order to function. It ALWAYS harms indigenous people, and since people have started questioning it, they are now shape-shifting again and beginning to call themselves “nature-based solutions”. We live in a world today where people are terrified of thinking, and anything promoted by people who are rich and well-presented gains instant acceptance (more so if the promoter is Caucasian, in addition to all that). Cryptic mechanisms are especially helpful in countries like Kenya, where state agencies in charge of our natural resources (especially Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service) haven’t the faintest understanding of how valuable our wildlife and forests are. If the carbon trading nonsense going on in Kenya wasn’t a scam, these two would be the wealthiest state corporations, not begging for alms from donors and tourists. We can now understand why NGOs are suddenly obsessed with fencing all our forests and rangelands at colossal costs. These biomes are priceless on the carbon markets, but only if they can remove and keep black people out of them. Some of the black people thus removed are now destitute, and those of them who have arms are currently engaged in violent resource conflict in Northern Laikipia. Why do you think conservation NGOs are silent about the conflict? They know the cause, but want to maintain the “African savages” or “political violence” labels that always serve so well to cover their corporate crimes.

Today, I wrote on my timeline that carbon credits are a global money laundering scheme. Nobody from any of the broker NGOs spoke up to oppose me, but my timeline was crowded with people asking me to give them a link to a ‘credible’ article that says so. This illustrated an extremely deep malaise that is all too common to public observations of the conservation sector in Africa (especially Kenya);

  1. These questioners obviously have NO IDEA what carbon trading is. If they did, they would notice that none of the practitioners confronted me
  2. They heard of carbon trading from white people, so they are asking for reference to a paper written by a white author (as opposed to the opinion of a black observer) in order to question it. In this case ‘credible’ was just a euphemism.
  3. The majority of Kenyans have been emasculated intellectually, and will do anything to avoid having to think for themselves, make a decision and take responsibility for the said decision.

However many different flowery terms, global conferences and stars they use to promote their schemes, we must understand that the movement of large sums of money without any goods or services in exchange is money laundering, a criminal enterprise, and this is what international conservation organizations are doing, day in day out. They call it innovative funding models, carbon credits, trading, offsets, nature-based solutions, amongst other names. This fraud is also harmful to our environment, because payment of ‘protection money’ or ‘greenwashing fees’ in this manner entitles them to continue harming their environment in situ. The brokers who receive the money are the same people who audit this intangible carbon, and eject people from their homelands in order to ‘sell’ forests they never created and earn money for nothing. They are pirates. All of them. This is organized crime, and anyone who expects to find an article in a conservation journal questioning the source of this free money has serious cognitive challenges.

From Marseille to Kenya: Fighting The Global March of conservation colonialism

Putting on my scientist’s hat, I have examined the findings and numbers as compared to what I already knew, and the less I say about them the better. There is nothing in there that I can find any use for. When touting this project, KWS told us that they were counting wildlife in order to plan. Plan what exactly? I can understand the importance of counts in situations where there is hunting. Obviously, it is interesting to know how many we have of various species, but how is this a priority here in Kenya, given all the resource challenges already faced by KWS? Do 200 elephants need a longer corridor than 10 elephants? Do 10 elephants need less security than 100 elephants? True conservation practice is qualitative, only the dysfunctional consumptive western model of the same is quantitative. That is why there are no megafauna left in the west. One day, our wildlife sector will hopefully gain the intellectual depth required to understand this. The quality of the work is summarized by the fact that they report that there are 10 vervet monkeys in the Amboseli-Magadi ecosystem, yet I know that you can see more than that number from your window without leaving the room at Amboseli Serena Lodge. What then, is the purpose of this report, being that it is so lacking in technical/ statistical quality? These numbers are a distraction from the prose, which contains all the western neo-colonial underpinnings that myself and colleagues have been fighting against for the last few days, here in France. Being a notoriously imperceptive society, over 99% of us haven’t noticed it, with my brothers Gatu Mbaria and Johnny Namnai being the only 2 exceptions I noticed. These two friends of mine picked up on the recommendation number 4 “There is need for review of legislation to recognize community conservancies as protected areas as they constitute important wildlife range”. This is an express recommendation to take away people’s homes and turn them into protected areas. This however, only refers to community conservancies, so the private ones (Lewa, Ol Jogi, Ol Pejeta, etc) belonging to wealthy (Caucasian) owners would be left untouched. These are the people perpetually being served by our wildlife-cum- tourism sector. The greatest danger to our pastoralist communities and the wildlife they share their lands with is the unbearable “whiteness” that pervades the sector. It is worth noting that the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies association hasn’t said a word, yet the CEO is a board member at Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI). The Conservation Alliance of Kenya has said nothing (although I have learned not to expect anything from them). Here is the evidence in an excerpt from the conclusions on Page 110; “There has been an influx of livestock into the key wildlife ecosystem like Laikipia-Samburu-Meru-Marsabit, Tsavo, Maasai Mara and Lamu-Lower Garissa. This scenario will possibly affect the wildlife species negatively as their habitats become encroached and competition for resources (water, space and forage) increase. As such, displaced of wildlife is likely to occur as they avoid competition with the livestock. This was observed in Laikipia-SamburuMarsabit-Meru Ecosystem, where it is believed elephants relocated to the hilly areas in the ecosystem, which made it difficult for the census team to sight and count them leading to an overall recording of less population than was recorded in 2017. Such incursions also fuel poaching as most herdsmen are armed with automatic weapons.” Before taking their land, you must first vilify pastoralists.

  1. Whiteness 1. Use livestock as a euphemism for pastoralist people so you pretend you’re not targeting them. Livestock don’t walk or graze alone
  2. Whiteness 2. Use words like ‘influx’ (or incursion or invasion) to imply that these people are ‘coming in’ from somewhere and this is not their home
  3. Whiteness 3. Call them poachers. Herdsmen will not jeopardize their precious herds worth millions of shillings and immense pride to shoot wild animals that are of no use to them. That is why there are megafauna across Kenyan rangelands occupied by pastoralists. Lastly, when there is a criminal out to shoot an elephant for ivory, this is a highly dangerous and difficult mission. What level of stupidity would advise him to take a herd of cows on his mission? Even those who go out to steal baby elephants for their orphanages aren’t accompanied by cows!

The census may have many purposes within the institution of KWS, which I am not privy to. However, as an external policy scholar, the only “benefits” I can see accruing from this “census” are:

  1. An institutionalization of policy to take land away from citizens and turn it into protected areas.
  2. Access to western funding to finance the above policy (they are currently discussing the huge amounts of money here in Marseille
  3. Larry Madowo’s wonderful report, which actually raised his professional standing within CNN

This places us in a very vulnerable situation and I would be delighted to be proved wrong, though I fear I am right. I tip my hat to the several PhD holders in the list of authors. I am glad that their names will remain prominent for posterity as experts in the history of Kenya’s conservation sector. The saddest part of this is that I am forced to face the fact that our wildlife sector can only be one of two things; Intellectually incapable of understanding what is going on here, or complicit in it, neither of which bears thinking about.

It is somehow lucky that they have released this report at this time, because it is a learning moment. It offers a perfect snapshot of the conservation colonialism that we’re fighting against in the entire global south. Aluta continua.

This article is dedicated to the late Said Wabera, a pillar in the fight against the pirates who scheme to disenfranchise us through contrived “CONservation” Rest well, brother (Passed August 22, 2021)


Requirements for citizenship of the racist Kingdom

Dear Natives, here is a what seems like a very firm declaration, driven by the need to address the many many young people asking me for advice because they are trying to make their way in the conservation field in Kenya. Young people, stop trying to avoid making decisions, there is no advice I can give you that will replace the need for courage and conviction. You MUST be prepared to join one of the following groups;

1.           Those who fight for justice. You will FIGHT every day. It hurts in every way you can imagine, but you sleep well at night and walk with your head high. However, you must watch your back, because our conservation sector is organized crime. Anyone can do this, but you must be brave.

2.           The Slave owner (This position is only available to those of Caucasian extraction) no description required.

3.           The “Uncle Tom”. Working for the slave plantation, serving the interests of the slave owner. This position is available to all races, but black Kenyans doing this tend to pretend that they don’t know what they are doing and pretend to be focused on “communities”, beadwork, “alternative livelihoods” and other nonsensical minutiae. Homeguards or ‘ngaati’ as my Kikuyu brothers call them

4.           “Bundekamnara” This is a bastardized Dholuo insult corrupted from “Bunduki come nearer”. White colonials used to carry guns everywhere, and the most trustworthy, physically strong and intellectually stunted native available was designated as gunbearer. He was strong enough to carry a heavy rifle and ammunition all day and too stupid/ cowardly to turn it on the boss in spite of all the mistreatment he received. The gunbearer position in Kenya is mostly occupied by state agencies, but civil society is  loudly staking their claim to be gunbearers through the wildlife conservancy movement.

If you want to get into the conservation movement in Kenya, take your pick from these positions. They are the only ones available. And most importantly, don’t ever fall for the lie that there is any placement outside these categories. We are all one of these, and if you cannot fit anywhere here, go into banking or something else. One of the biggest lies told by conservationists in Kenya is that it doesn’t include racism or white supremacy. If it didn’t our government wouldn’t place our wildlife under tourism. The reason I don’t entertain arguments on this assessment of our conservation sector is because I have lived it for over 20 years and I still live it today. Below is a recent email exchange with a white british man who lived and taught biology in school in Kenya some years ago. Because he is white, he cannot believe that a black man with a PhD in wildlife ecology can have the temerity to question the actions of a white high school dropout (Leakey) in conservation. He is even appalled that I am talking back to a white biology schoolteacher, more so because white people bring in millions of dollars in aid to finance the ‘Tarzan’ lifestyles of white conservationists in Kenya. For the record, my feeling is that foreign conservation funding to NGOs has now become the biggest source of corruption, threat to our wildlife, our indigenous people, and the sovereignty of our nation. Because I do this, to him, I am racist and childish, and because we have corrupt politicians and poor people living in slums, we should never question white people on wildlife matters. This fellow is just too primitive to hide it, but that’s the dominant attitude in Kenya. I have often said that I do enjoy the art of the insult, and dispensing them, but please read the racism between the lines and relate it to what we see every day in the conservation arena in Kenya. 

On Wed, 21 Jul 2021, 16:06 Alan, <> wrote:

Dear Sir,

              I was very disappointed with your book, ‘The Big Conservation Lie.’ I was so looking forward to reading it. However, I found the utterly racist, forensic analysis of Leakey et al’s failures unnecessary. When are you going to stop whining about white colonialism and start making you own history? You have had independence for nearly sixty years, elected your own politicians and made your own beds. You have to lie in them I’m afraid rather than blaming things which happened a lifetime ago. I notice you do not object to the hundreds of millions of white dollars pumped into Africa over the years.

What have you done? Why are people still living in shanty towns and slums.

Before you assume that I don’t know what I am talking about, I am a biologist, conservationist and lived in Kenya a number of years. Perhaps your own corrupt politicians and so called ‘rangers,’ who look the other way in the pay of poachers could be part of the problem. Or is white colonialism responsible for that too?    

Alan Castree

On 21 July 2021, at 14:42, Mordecai Ogada <> wrote:

Hi Alan!! Wonderful to hear from you and thanks for your feedback. Firstly, I am happy that you’re disappointed because you’re precisely the ilk of person we intended to offend.

Secondly, I don’t know what kind of “Conservation biologist” you are because I can’t for the life of me find any evidence of Conservation work you’ve done in Kenya! I am not sure what the poor slum dwellers or corrupt in Kenya have done to attract your attention, but I can assure you, none of them knows or care who you are.

Lastly, you’re an example of the long term problem of colonialism. The bigotry survives long after independence. I find no substantive issues you have raised on the content of our book, so I won’t try to address noise. For the record, I have tagged my co-author and publisher because I didn’t want to enjoy this alone!  

Have a wonderful afternoon

Mordecai Ogada

On Wed, 21 Jul 2021, 18:45 Alan, <> wrote:


To address your points,

There’s only one bigot on this page and its not me!

I never said I did conservation work in Kenya. I was a teacher of biology. Maybe some of your associates were trained by me not that that would count for anything in your fantasy world.

I’m afraid I have to disappoint you, I am not offended (nor surprised) by your rhetoric. It is the usual hogwash I’ve heard all my life from people with enormous chips on each shoulder.

It’s evident nobody in power in Kenya gives a damn about the slum dwelling people either, too busy with their snouts in the trough.

I wasn’t even born when colonialism occurred so I don’t dee the connection.

Notice the measured response I have given you. A bit different to the childish racist bullshit of yours to me, with silly emojis.

If you want to write such rubbish, you must be prepared for criticism.

Hoping you will grow up soon,

Love to all the animals,

Alan Castree

Mordecai Ogada <>

              Jul 21, 2021, 6:48 PM (3 days ago)                        

to Alan

Ah…I obviously didn’t express myself clearly enough, because you’re obviously suffering under the impression that I actually care what you think.

Let me be clearer. I don’t.

No! Oppressors have no say in our freedom story

As I have narrated elsewhere on numerous occasions, the structured (or contrived) practice of African wildlife conservation is a 150-year caucasian hegemony. The initial reaction to talk of conservation colonialism and racism was complete denial by the Kingdom and their black acolytes. Later, as these ugly truths relentlessly appeared in literature and the online spaces through articles and talks, the denial transformed into professional ostracization and personal attacks on myself, Mbaria (my co-author  on “The big conservation Lie) and others speaking up against the vice. This was interspersed with thinly-veiled racism displayed in statements implying that conservation initiatives in Africa led by white foreigners were some form of altruism, based on the myth that black Africans cannot manage their environment or live with their biodiversity. Following the publication of “The Big Conservation Lie” in 2016 and several discussions around the issue, Western practitioners and scholars took notice and the first evidence of this was an international conference on “Decolonization and the Politics of Wildlife in Africa” hosted at Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study, South Africa in September 2017 by two eminent German Scholars, Drs Bernhard Gissibl and Felix Schürmann. I was excited and sent off and abstract. It was rejected, which was bizarre because I was the ONLY African scholar working on the issue at the time. I looked at the participants and it was only Caucasian ‘experts’ and their black African students. That basically meant no independent black African voices. I challenged the organizers on their decision and no answer was forthcoming. I realized that after colonizing Africa and excluding us from conservation, Europeans now wanted to control the decolonization as well. They had no interest in changing the ‘structure’ of colony, just the content. I never heard from these gentlemen again until 2019 when we shared a podium in Berlin as invitees of the German parliament to discuss excesses of conservation organizations in Africa. The tension there is a story for another day, and I still hope that my disdain didn’t show through. Second was a workshop entitled “Crisis Conservation: Saving Nature in Times of Extinction, Exception and Enmity” in May 2020 in Italy. Remember, Africa is still ground zero for this crisis, and even then, there wasn’t any other black African scholar working on these issues (due to lack of courage, not resources). I sent in an abstract and received the facetious response below from the organizer, another European ‘expert’ on how Africans are excluded from conservation in Africa.

Dear Dr Ogada
Many thanks – your email came in just as I was citing your wonderful book again, so the timing was great. Thanks for the abstract: I will get back to you ASAP after the deadline. But a thought more generally: I really like the abstract, but I wonder how it precisely connects with the themes of the workshop. Would you be able to make that more explicit? Much of the selection will in the end be based on how well the papers hold together in a cutting-edge special issue on this theme
Bram Buscher

They didn’t take my abstract, and the only black Africans there were their own students, acting as mouthpieces which is what academia demands of all students  who don’t have the courage to stand for themselves.

Last was a paper being written by white scholars at Oxford University WildCRU (Wild Carnivore Research Unit) about the lack of diversity in African carnivore researchers.  I was invited to be a co-author, and after giving my input, the lead author Dr. Hans Bauer (he who ‘discovered’ lions in Ethiopia in 2016) saw that there was too much truth and asked me to edit it to meet ‘Academic standards’. This native doesn’t take shit like that, so I deleted everything and removed my name from the authors’ list. The embarrassing whining that followed demonstrates that they needed my name for credibility, but not my truths. Eventually, the only black African name in the published paper ( was that of his student.

A number of people have told me about a bizarre project spending a lot of money to bring some captive elephants from Kent in the UK  to be “rewilded”  in Kenya. This is a symptom of the same malaise. ( We have a morally stunted school of thought wracked with guilt about the wanton destruction of African wildlife under an illogical desire to control it. We have now awakened another level of guilt about the oppression they have visited upon us in this misadventure and exposed their cruel avarice. They are now struggling to make their depravities look good by attempting these pathetic ‘reparations’. Their challenge is that racism is so ingrained in the obsession with African wildlife that they cannot relate to black African people. They would rather spend millions on some romantic childhood dream of “returning wildlife to Africa”. Kenya is the only foreigner-obsessed intellectual vacuum where you can pull off such a caper. That’s why even “Northern” white rhinos that were stolen from Sudan were “returned” to Ol Pejeta in Kenya. We don’t need those elephants. We don’t care that you’re bringing them and we aren’t grateful. You should never have stolen them in the first place. Charlatans. The structure must fall. Aluta continua!

The smell of Putrefaction

One of the worst challenges to our intellectual development in this country is the inexplicable deference to titles (rather than intellectual fibre) and the consequent failure to criticize universities (particularly those we attended). I remember one invertebrate once telling me that I shouldn’t criticize the nonsense going on at the university where I got my undergraduate degree unless I am willing to discard the said piece of paper. I was invited by Kenyatta University to a webinar discussing the quality and merits of two new course offerings that they were very excited about- MSc and PhD in conservation biology. At this point, let me be clear- I am a graduate of KU (MSc and PhD), but I was shocked and saddened by the hollowness I saw. Now the department chair is someone whom I consider my academic senior, having defended his PhD before the same panel on the same day I defended my MSc. At around the turn of the Century (yes we are old scholars!) and has wide experience in the conservation civil society, so I thought this might be worth my time. As the Department Chair made his remarks, I picked up all the bullshit lines ‘market oriented’, Millenium Goals, serving Kenya conservation agenda, leaders in the industry, climate change, innovation (someone with a PhD thought innovation was use of drones, but I will keep that story for my grandchildren). They proudly presented all the ridiculous units they were going to teach, including proposal writing, how to do consultancy and grant management and project management (Nyasaye nyakalaga!!). There was no comment from any of the NGO stakeholders present, who knew very well that grants and consultancies in conservation are given based on skin colour, beauty, handsomeness, ethnicity, kickbacks, blood relations, friendships, and other considerations that aren’t obtained in universities. Time for comments! I raised my hand FIRST and made my points clearly. Kenya has NO conservation agenda, Conservation is NOT biology, lastly that they need to design a course in conservation philosophy and policy in order to SET Kenya’s conservation agenda. This is a challenge that I think any university should be excited to take up. There were over 15 senior academics in the meeting. NOBODY understood any of my points or responded in any way. The best thing about working from home is that you can attend to other things, and I noticed that there were some interesting birds in the garden. Kenyans will be familiar with the adjective “…quietly like you’re going to the toilet..” That’s how I left the meeting. Later as I was happily watching birds, the convener (a former MSc classmate) sent a message asking why I left, and whether I would be willing to give talks to the students. My answer was a firm ‘NO’. Like most ridiculous things in Kenya, this course is likely to happen, and I think it will produce wonderful slaves for the conservation plantation. Some will even be capable of raising funds to drive the white conservation agenda. However, KU will have a hard time competing in producing slaves for the conservation plantation. ALU in Rwanda is already miles ahead, even offering an MBA in conservation, the most bizarre course I’ve ever heard of. Intellectual death of Africans is a deliberate western neoliberal agenda, and its now being pursued through our educational institutions. Resist it, fight, and feel free to make enemies because of it. Our intellect is our most powerful weapon today. Aluta continua!

The pirates have found out that our souls are attached to our land…

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 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 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.

Privateers and Buccaneers

The reason why “privatization” is in quotes is because it is just a word that covers up for a lot of the wrong things that are afoot in our public arena. For the sake of absolute clarity, whether one calls it privatization, private-public partnership, contracting, concessioning or whatever it may be, my considered opinion is an unequivocal “NO”. The first thing we as Kenyans must stop is the tendency to describe things as acceptable, simply because they have been done in other countries, especially those in the west, or described using that ludicrous term ‘developed’. Secondly, we must resist any comparisons with South Africa, firstly because Africa is not a village and secondly because the private “parks” there are products of Group Areas Act. If the person comparing us with South Africa is white, make sure you use aggressive language, and if he is black, feel free to insult him for his foolishness. We must fix this place.

Back to Kenya. Public private partnerships aren’t new in this country, particularly in the arena of infrastructure where projects are built by external partners who then run them for a given period to recoup their investment. The building is what they bring to the table. It is a false equivalent to imagine that the same thinking can be brought to our natural heritage. Just what does a foreign partner bring to a park? Elephants? Lions? Forests? Mountains? Our state agency is mandated to hold our natural heritage in trust for us and future generations. The heritage is not theirs to lease or contract or whatever to anybody. The thing that defies belief here is that KWS is looking at the unsustainable, NGO run, donor funded “community conservancies” and imagining that it can do the same with National Parks. They haven’t even contemplated public participation and discussion with citizens which must necessarily precede any discussion with EU diplomats who are foreigners. There are always Kenyans who are traumatized into supporting even the worst decisions by government and will be telling us how good this is. I’d like to refer them to two relatively minor concessions at KWS which were spectacular failures. Who remembers some strange animal called Ranger’s Restaurant or Sebastian’s? These two “concessions” are both at KWS Hq, spitting distance from the accounting and internal auditors’ offices, but never earned KWS anything and are moribund. You see, the elephant in KWS and the rest of Kenya which we pretend not to notice is that any such concessions are always made to the connected, not the competent. When we are told that KWS will contract the revenue collection to an outside person, what message does that send about the millions spent on installing and maintaining the smart card entry system? This is obviously a human problem, not an electronic engineering problem. Concessions are policy plans, and not reactions to real or perceived inefficiencies in organizations. Those are only solved by having qualified professional, and committed staff at the helm. In 2018, the Government of Kenya contravened its own recruitment rules in installing a new Director-General, so these are self-made problems and they should kindly leave our parks out of any discussions with foreign buccaneers. If the KWS ship appears to be straying off course, and plagued with inefficiencies, then concession the captain to someone who could use him more efficiently.

Another act in the Theatre of the Absurd

In the last couple of days, many friends have been talking to me about this bizarre statement from our Tourism and Wildlife minister, implying that we should consider privatizing various tourism facilities under his ministry (including National Parks) . Why are we psychologically unable to escape from this fallacy that National Parks are tourism facilities rather that repositories of our natural heritage?? The very first function of KWS listed in the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013) is to “Conserve and manage national parks, wildlife conservation areas, and sanctuaries under its jurisdiction”. There is no mention of removal of the said parks from KWS jurisdiction. However, looking at the recent legal debacles in Kenya, one can be forgiven for thinking that the top echelons of our government are challenged in legal thought, so lets ignore that for a moment… In fact let’s forget about everything else including sovereignty and heritage questions which would tax philosophically challenged minds. Water is life. Our most important water catchment, the Aberdares which supplies Nairobi (including the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Hq.) is a national park, as is Mt. Kenya, Chyulu Hills, Mzima springs (supplying Mombasa, the Minister’s hometown). What struck me like a thunderbolt was the Minister’s assertion that this would ‘bring efficiency’. I haven’t heard any protests from the Director General, or the Board so I assume that they have accepted this assessment. Bwana Waziri, if the KWS management has failed, disband the board and change the CEO. We know that since the departure of the Chairman, the board currently doesn’t include a single independent member with the requisite qualifications to advise on wildlife conservation matters. The CEO is a career military officer. Dear Sir, where on earth was this mythical “efficiency” supposed to come from?? It should be anathema to disregard the efforts of hundreds of hard working, brave and professional KWS staff in this manner. Handing over our heritage to foreigners will enslave our children. NO Sir, that is not acceptable. There are qualified and committed Kenyans who can sit on that board and be custodians of our most precious gems. If your DG has failed, remove him and call any of the qualified Kenyans you know (and yes, you even have my phone number). EU diplomats and other foreigners are most welcome to our parks as visitors. Not as management.