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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tribunal to visit Nairobi Park over violation of court order

Okiya  Omtatah in Teso South  last June during the burial of his father, Bonventure Dindi Okiya in Kwangamor village. Photo/REUBEN OLITA
Okiya Omtatah in Teso South last June during the burial of his father, Bonventure Dindi Okiya in Kwangamor village. Photo/REUBEN OLITA

The National Environment Tribunal is to visit the Nairobi National Park to establish why phase two of the standard gauge railway, which runs through the park, is ongoing, despite barring orders.

On Wednesday last week, it ordered the contractor to suspend all activities on the Sh63 billion project. The phase runs from the city to Naivasha town.

The order was issued after activist Okiya Omtatah (pictured) and the Kenya Coalition for Wildlife Conservation appealed the decision by Nema to issue an environmental impact assessment licence on January 10.

They said the EIA was conducted hurriedly, without any consultation and in total disregard of procedural and legal requirements. On Friday, the Star team visited the 117 square-kilometre park and found that work was still on.

Armed KWS rangers kept vigil as the contractor proceeded with its work.

Acting executive director of Africa Network for Animal Welfare Steve Itela on Friday said the ongoing construction shows that the government is not committed to the rule of law.

He said the fact that Kenya Railways has an environmental impact assessment report does not mean they continue the project.

“This is sending a wrong signal because if laws are not respected, the country can go into anarchy,” Itela said, adding that the tribunal was ready to visit the site “to witness blatant disregard of the order”.

“The China Roads and Construction, KWS and the government must respect the law.”

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