Controversial Multibillion Lamu Port take new twist
07 March 2012, 14:47
The controversy surrounding the newly launched multibillion Lamu Port project has taken a new twist when several civic leaders vowed to challenge its approval in court claiming it failed to undergo all legal procedures.
Seven Lamu county council town planning councilors claimed that the government ignored to allow the project to be approved after undergoing all legal procedures.
Led by Faza Ward Councilor Hussein Taib they told journalists on Tuesday that they were still seeking legal advice from their lawyer before they begin legal process.
He claimed that the approval of the port project was not done by all councilors but just a section of the council which is not allowed.
“We are preparing to take the matter to court because full council was not involved in approving the port project. It was approved by just a section of the councils secretly at night and so we are ready to challenge its approval,” said the irritated councilor.
He said issues raised by farmers; fishermen and communities at large were not addressed although they are important in the development plan of the project and that the project should not have been approved before they were assured of their rights.
Taib expressed fear that fully implementation of the port project will automatically displace farmers and cause death of fishing industry which he noted locals depend on in the area.
“If what our people depend on is gone what their fate that was not discussed and so we will not sit and watch as our people die we want their fate to be known,” he noted.
The Port project, he said was right at the fish migrating areas, fishing channel, breeding grounds and ecosystem as well, adding that environmental pollution shall be experienced in the area especially at Manda Bay channel where ships would cross to the port.
He blamed the government for trying to bribe them in order to approve the project but they stood on their grounds and rejected to approve it.
“We wonder why ground breaking ceremony was done before all these burning issues were not settled and yet it was to be the last thing after all legal procedures were followed.
But because they did not want to consider all these raised issues by locals they rushed and approved the project in dark corners on Thursday before the launching day,” revealed Taib.
Resettlement Action plan was also another issue which he said had to be addressed before approving the project.
Unascertained reports revealed that before launching of the project seven town planning councilors refused to approve the project but civic leaders allied to Lamu County council Chairman Abdulkassim Ahmed and those of town planning chair lady Azahar Ali proceeded and approved the project.
It is also claimed that the project was secretly approved at midnight before the ground breaking ceremony attended by president Mwai Kibaki and his counter part Southern Sudan president Salva Kiir and Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi by a group of civic leaders led by county council chairman Ahmed which to them was total violation of laws and infringing community and fishermen’s rights.
Lamu county council chairman Ahmed could not be reached for comment as he claimed he was busy before publication.
Different groups among them civil society and national and international groups have opposed the implementation of the project before locals issues were addressed to an extent of petitioning the government to stop the ground breaking ceremony.
However the government assured locals that they will be compensated and that no locals’ land would be grabbed by government in the project.
The project is expected to open up economic development not only to Kenya but to Africa since is the biggest investment ever in the East Africa.
In line to the economic developments international Airport, resort cities modern railway joining Kenya Ethiopia and Sudan are among other infrastructures will be opened up.
The project is expected to end by 2030 where all 32 births will be ready creating employment opportunities in the area.
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