Kenya: Rift MPs Oppose Nandi World Bank Dam
Three MPs from Nandi are opposed to a plan to hive off 3,000 acres of on
indigenous forest land in the region for the establishment of a Sh50
billion World Bank-funded water and electricity project aimed at
benefitting residents of three provinces.
The MPs -David Koech, Elijah Lagat and Henry Kosgey- said they would not
allow the destruction of any section of the 20,000 hectare indigenous
forests at Kimondi in Nandi South for the project which is being funded
through the Lake Basin Development Authority."We are opposed to
destruction of the indigenous forests which our communities have been
preserving for many years", said Koech.
The MPs said the project would have a serious impact on the environment
and said the government and the donors should find alternative land in
the region for the project instead of destroying forests.
The project is expected to produce more than 30 Megawatts of electricity
and will supply water to areas in Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western regions.
Objection to the project has been growing with environmentalists and
even local community leaders warning that the project-expected to be the
biggest multi-purpose water dam in the country- would impact negatively
on the environment and would destroy the few remaining sources of
medicinal trees such as Elgon teak, prunes, crotons and other rare
species of trees which take decades to mature.
The leaders warned that that food production in western Kenya as well as
water flowing from River Yala to Lake Victoria would be negatively
affected. Environmental groups and local community leaders say the
project will also destroy habitation of rare antelopes and other wild
species which have migrated to the forest swamps.
Top officials of the Friends of Nandi Environment led by Moi University
lecturer John Chumo, chairman of Nandi Environmental Forum Francis Rono,
Nature Kenya project manager Gibson Kitsao, Kobujoi Forest Association
chairman Peter Kiptanui, and several environmental groups from Nandi are
opposed to the project.
Along with political leaders, the groups have until September to raise
objections to the project which has received approval from the Cabinet
and the Regional Development ministry.
The Nandi Kaburwo Council of Elders have written to the government
complaining that the local community in Nandi County was not consulted
on the project." We feel that the project should be put on hold until
the Nandi County is established so that it can negotiate for the project
on behalf of the community because under the new constitution the
communities will take charge of resources in their own areas", said
Secretary to the elders council John Sambu.
The elders claimed that resources meant for the community in the area
were being exploited to benefit people in other regions. They also cited
the just completed Kakamega Water Supply Project which was put up at
Chepsonoi in Nandi at a cost of more than Ksh 3 Billion. Water from the
project is benefitting counties in Western Province yet communities in
the host area have no piped water.
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