Photojournalist forced to Trek 2hrs on Foot for Taking Pictures of Lamu Port Area

January 24, 2012

Abdalla Bargash

Photographer, Abdalla Bargash

Save Lamu member and supporter, Abdalla Bargash, was harassed and later abandoned to walk back to Lamu on foot by security officers after he attempted to take pictures of the ongoing construction of the Lamu Port road construction area.

Bargash is a freelance photographer with Lamu Studio. He followed a delegation of community members from Kililana Farmers Association who were to have an emergency meeting with the Permanent Secretary for Transport, Dr. Cyrus Njiru following their concerns on the encroachment of the Lamu Port road into their farmland. The delegation also include the Lamu West District Commissioner, Stephen Ikua and the Principal Chief Jamal Fankupi in charge of local internal security.

Despite Dr. Njiru’s hesitation to travel with press, Bargash opted to follow the delegation to ensure the matter is covered since other press were unable to attend the meeting. On site, Bargash was refused to take any pictures and confronted after he attempted to by Mr. Fankupi following the orders of Dr. Njiru. He was asked to handover his camera, but following his insistence that they take his life before his camera, they decided to confiscate his memory card and battery. It is only through his wit that Bargash switched memory cards and managed to retain the pictures to give us the first glimpse of the Lamu Port road construction.

First glimpse of the construction site (Photo credits: Abdalla Bargash)

First glimpse of the construction site (Photo credits: Abdalla Bargash)

Without his camera, Bargash decided to take notes of the meeting but was immediately apprehendend and had his notebook confiscated and was chased off the site. While the security officer handed back his battery, he received a final dose of punishment after the PS refused to travel back with him to Lamu and abandoned him to walk on foot. Bargash had traveled by road together with the delegation but was left alone to trek back for two hours from the construction site to the closest point he could get to get a boat back to Lamu. Fortunately, it was not in vainĀ  as he did not leave empty handed. Below is the only footage of the Lamu Port road that Bargash caught before he was confronted.

Since Bargash could not give a full account of the events after he was forced to leave, Save Lamu was also able to contact some community members present throughout the whole meeting who clarified that there was no discussion on the consultation process for the entire LAPSSET project for other communities but rather on how they planned to compensate the farmers affected. The means, amount and date of compensation was not specified. For now, names of affected farmers will be written down and an agreement will be signed when the PS returns to Lamu on Friday. The PS averted any further questions when he returned to Lamu town after he avoided a group of community members congregated at the DC’s office awaiting answers on the lack of consultation for other affected communities, and environmental impact assessment and mitigation plan for the entire LAPSSET project beyond just the port road and Kililana.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lawrence January 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

While I want to salute the journalist for his boldness, i want to state that I am surprised at the action of the PS who should know in the spirit of the new constitution freedom of the press is enshrined and so is the freedom of expression. It was bad for the journalist to be left behind and to be barred from coverage of the on goings if they were for the benefit of the nation.

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mbegerewa January 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Way to go Ghost,and it just shows that they will use force to deter our efforts but we will not succumb to that!

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Abdalla Barghash January 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

It is said we have leaders, yes we have leaders who are there to make rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

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winnie January 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm

abdalla way to go.congrats and i wish i was thr to help u

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IslandBoy January 26, 2012 at 11:14 am

Someone should buy a bunch of cheap cameras and give them to villagers and others to take snaps every day.

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admin2 January 26, 2012 at 11:24 am

Good idea…

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Rafiki January 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Ok, Ok, ni wakati wa Amu. Be Positive. It’s had to swim against the current. Poleni.

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Deepak Kimani January 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm

[CENSORED]

We have been farming for the last 200 years and nobody can show us tangible results….does Singapore practice farming? Interests of the nations supersedes those of an individual.

[CENSORED] why is he not taking picture of Mombasa republican council doing their thing in the forests?????

To me he deserves castration.

BULLSHIT.

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admin2 January 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm

While we at Save Lamu encourage dialogue, please note that some statements in the above comment have been censored as we do not condone invoking religious agenda or insulting language in the forums. If you are to participate in discussion, please do so with respect and avoiding any hate speech.

Thank you.

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RAYA February 25, 2012 at 8:52 pm

pole sana bargash but we will continue with da same spirit!!!!!!

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LUTFY DA SILVA March 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm

WE PEOPLE OF LAMU, WE ARE THE SAME WILL BENEFIT FROM OUR PORT AND LAMU WILL CHANGE AND BE JUST LIKE DUBAI BECAUSE OF DEVELOPMENT OF OUR CITY.

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YUSSUF WA MUNAA March 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm

we as the people of lamu, we are happy to appreciate about our port but let us make sure we fight for our rights not by weapons but by pen and papers.I would like to encourage our parents to work for the betterment of our fellow brothers to do courses that are related to the port so that to avoid crying on the splitted milk.”this goes to ABDALLAH BARAGHASH to encourage him for the work he have done.”

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