2nd April 2019 Photo credit: Khadija Juma/Save Lamu Article: Khadija Juma/Save Lamu
Lamu community launches a Bio-cultural Community Protocol BCP at the Mwanarafa hall in the County of Lamu, BCP is a communal document that lays out the traditional knowledge and indigenous methods of natural resource management of the diverse communities.
Save Lamu found the need to engage different communities in the County of Lamu including the Orma, Sanye, Aweer, and the Swahili who claim Lamu as their ancestral homes to bring together histories, cultural practices and traditional knowledge and methods of doing things which is considered as the heritage of Lamu.
The long awaited launch brought together different stakeholders involved in the combining of the BCP book including representatives from all the 10wards from 46 villages respectively, Among the high dignitaries present during the BCP launch included Yash pal ghai who is a constitutional lawyer in academic law
“Another element that you can pay attention to is, at the very end of the constitution, quite a lengthy explanation of what is meant by marginalized communities, the constitution actually says quite a lot about the concept of marginalized communities, and I think your document did that as well” Said Yash Pal Ghai, a constitutional lawyer in academic law during the launch of BCP.
The BCP process was started by the Lamu Environmental Protection and Conservation (LEPAC) and Natural Justice whereby the idea was to develop a tool which would bring together all the villages of Lamu exploring different cultures and tastes
Lamu County is currently one of the spotlight areas in the Country due to the developing projects coming to that area including the now LAPSSET project whereby the construction is still on going with many misunderstandings between landowners from the Kililana farm and the National Land Commission (NLC).
In 2016 the NLC acquired 393.09 acres of land for the implementation of the three berths of the Lamu port. in 2018 the NLC issued 70,000 acres of land then leased it to LAPSSET with no public participation or proper inclusivity to the affected communities, and in December 2018 the Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo road was launched by LAPSSET whereby the road lies in unacquired area which are farms to Kililana farmers. Save Lamu has however been doing advocacy meetings in all the villages in Lamu County including the areas most affected with the developing projects with the help of legal support from Natural Justice.
The BCP document sets out traditional mechanisms for decision-making and sustainable use of Lamu’s national resources. The document will also allow the communities to raise collective concerns over consultation, participation, and impacts of development projects such as LAPSSET, oil and gas exploration and the proposed coal power plant, which is currently facing opposition from a large number of residence in Lamu County and out of Lamu, due to potential environmental, economic social and health impacts.
“Today Lamu is recognized as a world Heritage site, we proud ourselves, let us maintain the heritage for the generations to come” said Mohammed Mbwana Vice chair Save Lamu during the launching of Bicultural Community Protocol at the Mwanarafa hall in Lamu.