Conservationists question ‘hurried’ SGR meeting
Some stakeholders have questioned a meeting called over the SGR phase two that will be convened this morning at the Catholic University in Karen, Nairobi. Letters of invitation were written separately by the project’s proponents Kenya Railways and lead consultant Habitat Planners. “The main agenda of the meeting will be to receive stakeholders’ inputs on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and other related issues associated with the proposed projects,” a letter from KR managing director Athanas Maina states. Some invitees told the Star they read a sinister motive behind the “hurried” convening of the forum, saying procedures for calling the meeting have been violated. Steve Itela (pictured), chief of operations at Africa Network for Animal Welfare, also a member of the Conservation Alliance of Kenya, said they received invites as individuals, not as organisations. “We are sceptical about the real intentions of this meeting. How do we consult on ESIA whose contents we haven’t seen as stakeholders?” he said. Itela said it is wrong for the consultant or proponents to convene an ESIA meeting. He said the two are supposed to prepare the ESIA report and give it to the National Environment Management Authority. Nema then should analyse it and if it is satisfied with its content, advertise it and give the public 90 days to read it. It then holds a public hearing. Nkamuno Patita, a member of the community living adjacent to the park, said, “These meetings are being called for cosmetic purposes not to comply with public consultation... All they are doing is to invite us to act as rubber stamps.” When reached for comment, Tiffany Mwake, who signed the letter on behalf of Habitat Planners, demanded to know how the Star knew they have called the meeting. She then hung up.