Two human rights defenders based in Lamu Walid Ahmed and Ishaq Abubakar arrested following a peaceful demonstration against the proposed coal power plant project organized by Lamu Youth Alliance in the Island of Lamu.
(Walid Ahmed and Ishaq Abubakar arrives at the Lamu police station in the company of police)
The two were taken to the Lamu Police station for interrogation with the Lamu OCS Pius Mbithi and OCPD, more than 3 hours before they came out of the closed doors and both were released on kshs. 20,000 bond each.
“We fail to understand why every other demonstration here in Lamu is done with no limits, except for coal, we have been doing demonstration and we will continue doing so in fear of no one but to respect the constitution” Said Walid Ahmed.
(middle: Walid Ahmed human rights activist, Lamu Youth Alliance right: Anab Mohamed Natural Justice based in Lamu left: Ishaq Abubakar board member Save Lamu)
Walid however added by saying that they are against the project because it is a dirty source of energy which will affect Lamu residents and Kenya as a whole due to environmental destruction to health and livelihoods in Lamu. Walid in company of Ishaq and other community members took it to the street to demonstrate a breaking free from fossil fuel event.
“The investors are aware of the harm that will be caused by the coal project leading to peoples lives being at risk, the constitution we voted in 2010 must be followed which clearly states that every Kenyan has the right to clean and healthy environment ” said Ishaq Abubakar during a press release break free coal demonstration, Ishaq however pointed out fingers to the investor referring to the coal Plants in china and Mpumalanga in South Africa which has caused alot of negative impacts.
(Activists protesting against coal in Lamu during the break free event)
The arrest of the two activists attracted different human rights organizations from MUHURI, Voice of Justice ,NCHRD-Kenya to HAKI Africa who intervened and demanded for their immediate release referring to article 37 of the constitution of Kenya which guarantees every Kenyan the right to protest and demonstrate.
Save Lamu has been doing peaceful protests and demonstrations in Lamu since back then when the government introduced the LAPSSET project which they felt that there was no proper involvement of the people of Lamu, the organization later on filed a petition against the LAPSSET 7 years ago which they recently won the case at Malindi High Court, as a result of that Lamu fishermen will be compensated with Kshs. 1.7bn whose fishing activities were affected by the dredging that was on going at the LAPSSET area.
“Today we want to break free and let our voices be heard, the Lamu community today say “hatutaki coal”, we don’t want lamu our Island destroyed by short term gains, let China and America keep their coal and destruction, we have much to offer, Solar and Wind power is the way” said Amina Bwanamsuo Athman before they took it to the streets to protest against coal.
(from right to left: Leila Yusuf from National Museum of Kenya, Amina B Athman from Lamu Youth Alliance, Anab Mohammed from Natural Justice and Alwiya Saggaf from Save Lamu)
“Referring to the constitution of Kenya, article 42 states that every person has the right to clean and healthy environment , which includes the right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generation through legislative and other measures , particularly those contemplated in article 69, to have obligations relating to the environment fulfilled under article 70” said Amina B Athman during press release at the Lamu Youth Alliance.
Amina however urged the government of Kenya through climate change advisers in the office of the President and his deputy to refuse this proposal of constructing a 1,050MW of Coal fired plant in Lamu, and to abide by their commitment to the Paris agreement of December 2015, which requires phased reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs)
Coal fired plants have several negative impacts on public health and environment ,since there is no clean coal, emissions can cause respiratory illness , cardiovascular diseases , asthma attacks brain damage and cancer, they affect the environment by causing acid rain , depleting surface or ground water and contribute to global climate change.