A celebratory mood engulfed KWS headquarters after the official announcement that Dr Erustus Kanga has been substantively appointed KWS Director General. Dr Kanga was confirmed as the Service’s CEO following the conclusion of a stringent process, Wednesday, 2nd August, 2023.
Addressing hundreds of jovial staff who attended the daily staff tea hosted by the DG, who was flanked by Senior Management, Dr. Kanga told the teams assembled that he felt privileged and gratified to address them formally as their Director General. He reminded staff that during creation, animals were created ahead of man, whereupon the Creator then granted man dominion over all animals and their habitats. He said KWS is the only organization mandated to carry out this divine task on behalf of the Kenyan people and the world, under the auspices of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (WCMA), 2013.
Dr. Kanga averred that KWS would not be where it is save for the mercy of God, asking staff to take a moment to reflect upon God’s benevolence to the Service. “I also thank His Excellency Dr. William Samoei Ruto for the opportunity and privilege of serving alongside the bright minds comprising KWS staff,” he said, adding that the Presidents support towards the wildlife sector bodes well for the Service, due to His Excellency’s passion for conservation.
The DG further expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage for their support in promptly availing resources to facilitate the Service’s mandate. He commended the ministry for steering the recruitment process for the KWS DG. “I want to thank our Board of Trustees for their focus and for taking candidates through a rigorous interview, whose difficulty proves the good intentions for the Service engendered by our Board of Trustees”, Dr. Kanga said.
The DG thanked all staff who prayed for his success throughout his journey at the helm of KWS, urging them to continue focusing on their duties with due diligence to ensure that the Service’s conservation mandate was achieved. He reminded staff that they are the gateway to KWS’s survival, exhorting them to revere their position as custodians of 8.3 per cent of Kenya’s land mass, in tandem with 13 per cent of conservancies adjacent to KWS protected areas. “This translates to more than 20 per cent of Kenya’s land mass, meaning that KWS staff have a unique yet serious responsibility in implementing the bottom-up agenda for the government,” Dr. Kanga said, advising staff to mingle freely with communities and partners to realize the conservation agenda.
He said the onus is upon Service staff to brainstorm on how to uplift community livelihoods and ingrain the importance of wildlife and their habitats into their minds to further the Service’s agenda of wildlife conservation through coexistence. He urged the immediate cessation of revenues leakage and integrity issues within the Service, insisting on his desire to leave a legacy of organizational patriotism which will thrive long after his tenure.
Dr. Kanga stressed the importance of self-sustainability, which he said was the only way he could assure staff of their welfare needs being met. He explained that all pending welfare programs would be facilitated forthwith due to the hardworking Board of Trustees, reminding staff that several other beneficial programs had been implemented over the past eight months. He urged his teams to be focused, because the Service has all systems, skills and manpower in place; all that is needed is consensus to work towards a common goal and to be each other’s keepers. The DG advised staff to jealously guard KWS in order to protect the brand from external enemies.
Dr Kanga said all staff must continue with their dedication to their duties, adding that President William Ruto insists on integrity being upheld, failure to which there will be swift and tough response to laxity, negligence and complicity in corruption. He further told staff that they are each remunerated and facilitated in their work stations, therefore the onus is upon them to uplift the brand and not give stakeholders and partners any reason to point fingers at the Service. The DG said that the day’s official kick-off of KWS ‘version 3.0’ would ensure that the great legacy left would propel the Service well beyond any staff’s tenure at KWS.
Dr. Kanga led staff in the cutting of a sumptuous cake to celebrate his confirmation, personally serving his faithful staff with pieces of the creamy confection as he engaged freely with them and listened to their issues over a cup of tea. In a happy coincidence, the Board of Trustees interviews to pick the most qualified CEO to lead the world-renowned Kenya Wildlife Service were finalized on World Ranger Day, commemorated annually on 31st July.