Uhuru burnt Ivory worth $105 million but who pioneered the trade in Kenya?
On Saturday, April 30 2016, Uhuru Kenyatta burnt elephant ivory and rhino horns worth $105 million. However, who exactly started the ivory trade? Exerpts of the article below written by Jared Odero for KSB may throw light on the main criminals who pioneered the ivory trade in Kenya.
Links to illegal trade in Ivory and forced Kenyatta shares in companies
In May 2011, a staff reporter at “investmentnewskenya.com” wrote that an American news magazine noted in 1979 that the Kenyatta family estate was worth $200 million. In a recent report by Kenya’s Citizen TV, the family’s wealth was more that $ 1.9 billion. It is questionable that Forbes reported Uhuru owns 500,000 acres of land, which is equated with the size of Nyanza province. This ownership has always been mentioned under the Kenyatta family. When did Uhuru become the sole owner of his family’s wealth? How did Forbes sort out what was owned by whom? Uhuru’s younger brother Muhoho is noted as the person largely running the family business. Earlier, it was his mother Mama Ngina who was seen as the force behind the vast Kenyatta business empire, which constitutes diverse investments ranging from dairy farming, banking to real estate, among others.
Rumours abound about Uhuru’s elder step sister Margaret Kenyatta, and Mama Ngina’s links to ivory smuggling in the 1970s. On May 22 1975, Jon Tinker wrote in the New Scientist magazine about elephant poaching in Kenya, which involved some prominent persons. Sections of the article are quoted verbatim here: “Kenya has perhaps 120 000 elephants, and every year between 10 000 and 20 000 elephants are being killed for their ivory. At this rate, the Kenyan elephant will be virtually extinct within a decade. Kenya’s ivory trade is currently worth around $10 million a year, but little of this money goes to the poachers. Not much goes to the government of Kenya either, for officially it has banned all private dealing in ivory. The profits are made by a few merchants in Nairobi and Mombasa, who bribe the game department and the wildlife ministry, the customs and the police to let them ship ivory by the ton to Europe, Hong Kong, Japan and People’s China.”
Enough money to compensate the PEV victims
The identity of these ivory queens is a matter of common gossip in Nairobi, and the most prominent of them are said to be Mama Ngina and Margaret Kenyatta, respectively wife and daughter to the President. In Kenya today, you can be sent to prison for what is called rumour-mongering, so in this article I shall confine myself to provable fact. And there is now documentary proof that at least one member of Kenya’s Royal family has recently shipped over six tons of ivory to Red China. Moreover, in spite of repeated denials from the Kenyan wildlife ministry that they have issued any licences to deal in or export raw ivory, this trading is being carried out with the active connivance of the highest officials in the game department.”
Tinker wrote that despite the government’s ban on private ivory export in August 1974, Margaret Kenyatta had since then “illicitly sent over 6 tonnes worth $200 000 to People’s China”. The United African Corporation (Kenya) Limited was a key exporter of ivory to China, Hong Kong and Japan. Records at that time showed she held 16 per cent shares in the company which was registered in 1964. However, by 1974, she held 49 per cent and had become chairperson of the company.