Parties agree to maintain wildlife service ranks

Parties agree to maintain wildlife service ranks
In 2016, it was reported that there has been a substantial increase in the poaching of zebras for meat and skins. [Photo: Shutterstock]

The parties to the revitalised peace agreement in the reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly have agreed to maintain the ranks of the wildlife service.

The second controversial wildlife service bill was passed by the lawmakers on Wednesday during a parliamentary sitting after it was retabled before the House.

The Wildlife Service Bill and the permanent constitution-making process Bill were passed by the assembly in July when the SPLM-IO members were on a boycott, forcing the Presidency to order their retabling.

The SPLM-IO had contested Section 15 of the Bill, which talks about the ranks of the National Wildlife Service Officers after it was passed in their absence.

Issues contested

Formerly, the first deputy speaker of TNLA and deputy chairman of SPLM-IO, Oyet Nathaniel, told The City Review in July that the committee of wildlife conservation and tourism altered section 15 of the Bill by removing the demilitarisation aspect and reinstating the military rank of SPLA, arguing that the service is non-military.

“They are using military ranks which the reforms were seeking to undo.” The Bill on wildlife [which] they passed retains the military nature. “

“They also want to do it with the National Police. They also want to do it with the fire brigade service and also the prison service, and we object to this. “We want these services to be non-military,” said Oyet in July.

In a joint report of the parliamentary committees on Wildlife Service, Conservation and Tourism and that of Legislation and Justice on the National Wildlife Service Bill, 2022, presented on Wednesday by the chairperson of the committee, the two committees agreed on section 15 concerning the ranks.

But the committee differed on whether the office titles should be put together with ranks in section 15 or under section 13 of the Bill.

“All the amendments in the Wildlife Service Bill were passed except for section 15; the Wildlife Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) ranks,” the report stated in a paragraph.

Justin Joseph Marona, Acting Chief Whip of SPLM-IO and the chair of the specialised committee on public service and human resource development, told the house the problem they had during the review of the Bill was how to comprehend the titles and the ranks.

“We engaged with the committees and reached a consensus,” he stressed, especially in Section 15 which talks about the titles,” he stressed.

“We reached the consensus that this title needs to be harmonised by the ranks that appeared due to many consultations, and even further we have seen some jurisdiction. Therefore, on this Bill, we are in consensus, “Marona told MPs.

The government chief whip and a member of SPLM, Rebecca Joshua Ogwaci, also hailed the ranks, arguing that they would improve the wildlife service.  

Ogwaci acknowledged the current level of consensus following several issues that arose at the parliament, including the boycott by SPLM-IO.

“There is no way the wildlife will be wearing uniforms and they will have no ranks. So it is good that it has been accepted because that is the rationale behind having ranks, “she argued.

The ranks of the Wildlife Service agreed upon by the lawmakers range from 1ST Lieutenant General, Lieutenant General, Major General, Brigadier General, Colonel, First Lieutenant, Major, Captain, 1st Lieutenant, and 2nd Lieutenant, while the non-commission officers are Warrant Officer, Sergeant Major, Sergeant, Corporal, Lance Corporal, and Private.

The passing of the Bill on wildlife service marks the end of the resolution of differences on the bills that were ordered by the President in August to be retabled in the Parliament for amendment using consensus, which has been witnessed in the passing of the two bills.