Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina is mulling filing a lawsuit challenging the recent increase in Masai Mara access fee enacted by the county’s governor, Patrick Ole Ntutu.
In a Tuesday morning interview on Spice FM, the Senator lamented that the county did not engage stakeholders and members of the public before hiking the prices.
Part of the stakeholders included the Kenya Tourism Federation responsible for sending tourists to the National Park.
“What I would expect Governor Ntutu to do is have a clear public participation forum where you sit down and take the views of stakeholders,” argued Ledama.
Senator Ledama Olekina during an interview with Kenyans.co.ke.
“As a person who is tasked with the Constitutional responsibility of protecting the counties, I am doing my job by making sure that I move to court to stop this because there will be massive job losses.”
Ledama, as a result, argued that the federation could turn away tourists, sending them to other parks such as Serengeti in Tanzania and Kruger in South Africa.
“In fact, the Kenya Tourism Federation is very important because they are the people who decide to either bring the tourists or take them to Serengeti. Nothing stops them from taking them to Serengeti and they are already doing that,” he added.
“If the court decides that the governor is right in raising the fees, guess what the tour operators will do, they will go to South Africa or Serengeti.”
The Senator further questioned the criteria used in allocating camps within the expansive park to 46 entities and accused the governor of lacking a plan for the 80-dollar per bed fee imposed within Masai Mara.
Narok County Government tripled entry fees to Masai Mara National Park following months of heated debate from stakeholders and some of its customers.
The new rates, which took effect this January, include Ksh3,000 per adult and Ksh1,000 per student. The charges increased from Ksh1,000 per adult and Ksh300 per student.
Regionally, East African residents will pay Ksh4,500 (adults). Children’s and students’ rates were pegged at Ksh2,000 each.
“Narok County Government has confirmed that the Masai Mara Park Fees for 2024 will be increased to USD 100 per non-resident adult per day from January 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024, and USD 200 per non-resident adult per day, from July 1 2024 onwards,” read a notice on its website in part.
“These increased rates were a proposal but have now been confirmed by the County Government as of mid-October 2023.”
The clash hampers President William Ruto’s efforts to shore up tourist numbers to 5 million by abolishing visa requirements for all people worldwide.
Patrick Ole Ntutu taking his oath of office as the Governor of Narok County at Ole Ntimama Stadium, Narok on August 25, 2022