PRESS RELEASE: Northern Corridor Community Groups form National Network to Call Government to Task on LAPSSET

Save Lamu and a consortium of community groups along the Lamu-Port, South Sudan, Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor, today facilitated a stakeholder dialogue meeting on the on-going plans and sharing of updates on the implementation of LAPSSET and related infrastructure projects. This is the first meeting held between community groups along the entire LAPSSET Corridor, government ministries, experts, developmental partners.

The meeting involved over 50 participants. Community groups involved in the meeting include those from Lamu, Ijara, Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana, and Baringo Counties. Government agencies included the Vision 2030 secretariat, Ministry of Transport, and NMK; multinational organisations included UNDP, UNEP, European Union, the US Embassy, and more; while over 30 national civil society organisations were present to participate in the dialogue. The community representatives expressed their support of the economic benefits of project, but also raised concerns over the lack of transparency and due process in its implementation and the lack of adequate consideration of environmental issues.

“The issues of environmental impacts and social impacts are critical issues, but many people are just starting to know them right now”, noted Mr. Mugo Kibati, Director General of Vision 2030 in his keynote address. “The omissions made are not made out of malice or out of an attempt to keep people out, but just pure ignorance…Now that we know better. We hope that the Second Medium Term Plan (MTP) of the Kenya Vision 2030 will have a better consideration of environmental issues and climate change.”

Mugo Kibati
Mr. Mugo Kibati, Director General of Vision 2030 during giving a keynote address.

Mr. Hezekiah Adala, lead environmental consultant for the three-berths of Lamu Port presented a summary of the project he carried out to the participants where he highlighted the impacts and mitigation plans he proposed to the Ministry of Transport. He however noted that the study is yet to be approved by NEMA and published for public consultation.

In noting that the commissioning of the three-berths is planned for February by President Mwai Kibaki, before the 30 day requirement for public review, participants raised significant concern over the violation. “While not against development of infrastructure of the region, we cannot condone the violation of our laws and constitution as the project is hastened,” highlighted Hassan Shano, Chairman of the Waso Trust in Isiolo in reading a joint statement from community groups along the LAPSSET Corridor. “…We find the lack of information and transparency on the financing and implementation plan of the project to be rather disconcerting and questionable.”

Yash Pal Ghai
Participants in a discussion group, from left: Wilson Kipkazi (Endorois Welfare Council), Prof. Yash Ghai, renowned scholar in constitutional law, Rashid Omar (GIDP), and Hassan Shano (Waso Trust)

While appreciative of the economic benefits of project, community representatives highlighted concerns over the lack of transparency and due process in project implementation, increasing land speculation in their regions, and rushed launch of the Isiolo airports and Lamu port. They called for President Mwai Kibaki to halt construction of the project before the devolved government is in place so that relevant mechanisms are put in place as required by law, all communities living along LAPSSET Corridor are involved, and a strategic environmental impact assessments (SEA) of the LAPSSET is carried out.

Save Lamu is a growing coalition with over 40 groups in Lamu and aimed to engage communities and stakeholders to ensure participatory decision-making so as to achieve sustainable and responsible development. The organisation has also begun coordination of regional advocacy efforts with other community organisations along LAPSSET to ensure sustainable and participatory decision-making. Community groups involved in the LAPSSET Community network include: Tana Development Network, Women Empowerment (Ijara), Northern Women Development Aid, Moyale Pastoralists Women Organisation, Turkana Youth Coordinating Committee, Ille BMU, Lokichoggio Peace Organization, Pastoralist Development Network, Friends of Lake Turkana, Kivulini Trust, Pastoralist Integrated Development Initiative, Maendeleo ya Wanawake (North Eastern Province), Endorois Welfare Council, IMPACT, Samburu Women Trust, and Waso Trust.

 

NB: Click HERE to read the LAPSSET Community Statement

Contact:

Samia Omar
Advocacy Coordinator
P.O. Box 314-80500, Lamu
Tel: +254 (0)729-412-213
Email: admin@savelamu.org
Website: www.savelamu.org

 

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