House wrenched by internal divisions: Combating Kenyan environmental Crime in the midst of an Institutional labyrinth
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Environmental issues have been a common concern to all Kenyans for along time but many environmental crimes go unnoticed or simply ignored or unabated. A truck driver who illegally disposes gallons of unwanted waste on the roadside rather than taking them to a proper disposal site is often not considered as contributing to environmental crime. In the same regard a commercial horticultural farmer empties his tank of unwanted pesticides into a stream, without thinking of the great health risks he is exposing to humans and the environment. Many a tourist hunter, shoot or even smuggle rare birds or animals out of the natural reserves but not arrested and charged. There are so many illegal loggers in the forests who have contributed to forest cover and resource decline and yet the climatic conditions in Kenya and else where in Africa continue to deteriorate. Available evidence points to institutional conflict as well as growing structural weaknesses in enforcement agencies as major contributing factors. This is illuminated by the several agencies with conflicting authority and power to enforce different sections of the environmental laws. Such include the ministries of environment, agriculture, fisheries, forest services, local authorities and provincial departments. Therefore because of lack of streamlined coordination, there are always conflicting in-roads on who has what mandate. In this paper, I argue that, although the legal and policy framework provides an important foundation for sustainable management of the environment, Kenya’s lack of an institutional clearing house to mediate the conflicting rules and regulations regarding the management of the environment has contributed to the rising levels of environmental crime in the country.