Reports that the government is facing multiple legal suits over failure to pay Sh7 billion in compensation claims for victims of human-wildlife conflict are quite worrying.
According to National Audit Office, there are 15,382 pending human-wildlife conflict cases dating from 2014 to 2017.
The Sh7 billion does not include the 2018 cases, which were being evaluated at the time of the audit. The report shows that the estimated claims for compensation amount to Sh6,969,515,712.
Under the current law that came into force, compensation for human death, injury or damage to property was significantly increased. Section 25 of the Act stipulates that Sh5 million will be paid for human death, Sh3 million for injury with permanent disability and up to Sh2 million for other injuries depending on their extent.
Previously, compensation for deaths was Sh200,000 while those with injuries were paid Sh50,000. We urge the government to ensure that the victims are promptly paid once their claims have been verified to avoid a situation where the taxpayer has to shoulder the huge burden owing to arrears. That’s the least the government can do in ensuring that victims are not left in a lurch due to delayed payments.