Who wants part of Indian Ocean? Parliament raises red flag


Who wants part of Indian Ocean? Parliament raises red flag
Section of the Indian Ocean. PHOTO| CITIZEN DIGITAL

In Summary

  • The National Assembly Environment Committee has now summoned the officials of the companies involved, Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to explain how the firms were allowed to reclaim the ocean for private use.
  • The Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) had opposed the reclamation of the riparian land terming it as ocean encroachment.
  • Developers including multiple holliers defended their newly established depots, claiming due process was followed and genuine title deeds are in their procession.

Parliament has launched investigations into the circumstances under which two companies were allocated a part of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa, raising fears of irreparable damage to the environment.

Members of the National Assembly Environment Committee have now summoned the officials of the companies involved, Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to explain how the firms were allowed to reclaim the ocean for private use.

The Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) had opposed the reclamation of the riparian land terming it as ocean encroachment.

“Following routine inspection along the Indian Ocean, two developers — Multiple Inland Container Depot and Shehena Enterprises in Nyali bridge were found to have encroached into the riparian land,” said WARMA in a letter dated September 26, 2018.

The letter added in part: “Discussions were held with their representatives and compliance orders 46982 and 46985 were issued to developers to immediately stop the ongoing works on riparian land.”

“At the end the process, the DPP will be here and the first casualty will be you as the NEMA County director because here is a letter that was also copied you stopping the encroachment,” said MP Kareke Mbiuki

The committee, which on Sunday visited sections of Kibarani in Mombasa, claims the ongoing reclamation is disposing harmful chemicals and particles into the ocean chocking the aquatic animals.

The MPs demanded to know why the works at the Kibarani dumpsite had not been stopped as directed by WARMA.

“It is so pathetic that today we are standing here at Kibarani where the rivers have been polluted and people are grabbing the ocean,” said Njoro MP Charity Kathambi.

In his defence, the NEMA County director said: “We are not the enforcers of the orders of WARMA. We have no knowledge of that order was issued in 2016.”

Developers including Multiple Holliers defended their newly established depots, claiming due process was followed and genuine title deeds are in their procession.

“We have all the approvals from all the authorities and we have the copies available in our offices,” said Anthony Raju, the company’s manager.

In 2003, the ocean was 212 meters from the railway overpass in Mombasa and in 2017, according to WARMA, the ocean is 396 meters, meaning 184 meters of riparian land has been encroached from the south while 193 meters encroached towards Mombasa.

WARMA has since recommended that all works in Kibarani be stopped and encroached land reverted back to the ocean. In addition, WARMA wants a fresh survey done to establish cut lines of the riparian land

In June, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho ordered the closure of the Kibarani dumpsite within 70 days and its relocation to Mwakirunge, a site opposed by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Officials of the three companies, Kenya Forest Service, NEMA and WARMA are set to appear before the committee later this week.

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