Monday, May 9, 2011

Kenya: Rift MPs Oppose Nandi World Bank Dam

Nairobi Star (Nairobi), 3 May 2011
Kenya: Rift MPs Oppose Nandi World Bank Dam
Mathews Ndanyi

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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1 comment:

  1. was born and grew up on the edge of the South Nandi Forest in the early 1950s. The so called Nandi Leaders are economical with the truth. Mr Kosgey was an MP & Government Minister when the Nandi Forest was destroyed by Logging Interests and Politically driven resettlement in the 1980s. Him and the two younger MPs were aware of the project proposal right from the start (nearly 10 years ago). Why did they not speak then? The Environmentalists are just making noise to attract foreign funding-they have no commitment to conservation. They witnessed the South Nandi Forest reduce from a 19,000 Ha closed canopy rain forest of the 1950s to the current 8,000 Ha and did nothing about it. The Kenya Forest Service and its predecessor the Forest Department have worked in cahoots with criminal elements who are pit-sawing the remaining hardwoods 24/7. I project the forest could disappear by 2015. So let us stop the hypocrisy and do something useful with this forest before it becomes a wasteland. I AM FOR THE DAM PROJECT. COUNT ON MY VOTE!

    Cosmas Ronno
    Guasa Ngishu County