ENCROACHMENT

Senate to quiz Tobiko over intruder sand harvester in Suba North

Dredger from Uganda harvested sand in large quantities last week Wednesday and Saturday.

In Summary

• Senator Kajwang' has written to the Senate Committee on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources to summon the CS over the matter.

• Fishermen and residents protested, saying they were not informed of the activity.

Fishermen in Takawiri island, Suba North constituency
Fishermen in Takawiri island, Suba North constituency
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang' wants Environment CS Keriako Tobiko to explain why a dredger from Uganda harvested sand in Suba North.

The machine owned by Ugandan organisation Mango Tree Marine Limited harvested sand in Lake Victoria near Takawiri and Mfang’ano Islands.

According to the National Environment Management Authority, the dredger was not licensed to scoop sand from the area. Hence, Kajwang' has written to the Senate Committee on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources to summon Tobiko over the matter.

The 700, 000 tonne-vessel harvested sand in large quantities on Wednesday and Saturday last week. Fishermen and residents protested, saying they were not informed of the activity.

Kajwang’, therefore, wants the Environment committee chaired by his Nyandarua counterpart Paul Mwangi to summon Tobiko within seven days to shed light on the mission of the vessel in the lake.

He says in his letter that the dredger, which left the island, interfered with the ecosystem around the islands.

“Nema and the Homa Bay government are investigating how the vessel operators arrived on Takawiri Island. Who authorised it to harvest sand without residents' awareness?” the letter reads.

The legislator said it is the role of the government to protect water sources and related economy. He said he is concerned about the welfare of people who depend on the lake such as fishermen and those whose livelihoods are supported by tourism activities in the lake.

The senator also wants an explanation of measures taken to ensure fish breeding sites around the two islands and in other parts of the lake are protected to ensure sustainability.

“The Senate should also explain long-term measures taken by the government to ensure transport in Lake Victoria is revived in a manner that preserves its rich ecological heritage and respects the right of fisher folks and indigenous communities,” Kajwang’ said.

A report from the Senate will be shared with community members of Takawiri and Mfangano islands.

 

Edited by F'Orieny