Con­ser­va­tion­ists ques­tion ‘hur­ried’ SGR meet­ing

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

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.

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