It will be impossible for pastoralist communities to migrate to neighbouring counties in search of pasture and water if three proposed Bills and regulations by the State Department of Livestock are ratified.
The Bills, among other things, seek to ensure peaceful coexistence amongst communities and end cases of conflicts over natural resources but herders in the northern parts of the country feel that some of the clauses are meant to punish them.
The draft Bills, which are in the public participation stage, are on animal health, livestock and veterinary public health and seek to align the existing laws to modern standards in line with the changing institutional demands.
They will also reduce the more than 10 existing laws to allow ease of reference and implementation.
Speaking during a public engagement forum in Isiolo town attended by stakeholders from Isiolo, Meru, Samburu and Marsabit counties, pastoralists unanimously objected to clauses on movement of livestock for grazing and regulation on disease control.
In moving livestock to other counties for grazing, herders will be required to have a 'No Objection' permit and approval notice from the destination county and local administrator in the area as well as animal movement permit from the county they move from.
Luka Linturi took issue with a clause on notification of unknown disease that requires herders aware that their animals are infected, to isolate them, take reasonable steps to prevent spread and notify the veterinary officers or pay Sh100,000 fine.
“We are not vet officers and therefore find it hard to know when our animals fall ill and the fine in the clause should be scrapped,” suggested Mr Linturi.
The animal health bill further states that anyone who fails to report abnormal morbidity and mortality among his animals or seek treatment from the vet officers, will be liable to a fine of Sh50,000 or a six-month-imprisonment.
Mr Abdullahi Boru opposed a clause stating that there will be no compensation for animals destroyed under directive of the director general to control notifiable disease are infected with the disease.
Mr Boru said the Sh50,000 fine for those found culpable of grazing within the restricted areas is impractical.
“How can you tell us that we should not allow our animals in the urban centers when we must access the town to the slaughterhouses?” he posed.
But Mr Charles Ochondo, an officer at the State Department of Livestock, said the Bills will, among other things, ensure that required international standards are followed for improved service delivery.
“The Bills cover on quite a number of issues that will help us as a country improve on the existing laws in line with the international standards,” said Mr Ochondo.