Controversy in Kenya

Published: Monday 28 February 1994

-- IN A CLASSIC tussle between conservation and tourist revenue, anthropologist Richard Leakey was compelled to resign as chairperson of the Kenyan Wildlife Service, following a campaign unleashed against him by William Ole Ntimama, the powerful Kenyan minister of local government.

Ntimama said the local population in or near Kenya's national parks have not benefitted from the influx of tourists. He also accused Leakey of arrogance and mismanagement and of favouring white Kenyan ranchers in providing export licences for game meat that has been culled.

However, there could more to the episode than meets the eye. It seems the attack on Leakey -- a conservationist who spearheaded the country's efforts to end the ivory trade -- was masterminded by Kenya's politicians who were interested in getting their hands on the resources generated by the game parks.

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