Protests over stone quarrying - Daily Nation
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Protests over stone quarrying by Chinese firm

Thursday October 25 2018

STONE QUARRYING

A stone quarry. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OSCAR KAKAI
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 A fresh dispute has erupted at Katimokor area, Chepchoina scheme along the West Pokot and Trans-nzoia boundary over stone quarrying.

Local leaders and residents have staged protests against a Chinese company quarrying stones in the area.

SQUATTERS EVICTED

The government and squatters at the scheme have been embroiled in a prolonged dispute, with the settlers being evicted every planting season.

Five months ago, more than 200 settlers at the scheme were evicted from the land, which they said they have owned for more than 20 years. Houses were torched and cattle shot dead by security officers.

But area leaders led by Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto  have  now accused the government  of allowing the Chinese company to mine stones at Narasras hill, Riwo ward, Kanyarkwat location.

 Speaking on Thursday at Katimomor during a peace meeting, Mr Moroto asked the government to intervene, accusing local administration, politicians and brokers of lying to residents.

Mr Moroto said that there was no public participation when the Chinese firm was allowed to operate in the area. Mr James Kaburu, a resident, accused Endebbes sub-county Deputy Commissioner Peter Maina of allowing the Chinese company to operate in  the area without residents’ knowledge.

NEMA CERTIFICATE

 They challenged the government to address land disputes in the area, demanding that the Chinese company leaves immediately.

“We have had peace for a long time but of late, some government officers have been selling our hill. We will not accept that. Recently, Mr Maina brought the Chinese and told us to keep quite. They don’t want to listen to our grievances. Many people have been evicted. We also need jobs, ” said Mr Kaburu.

They accused the Chinese company of destroying the environment. “We are puzzled because they don’t have the National Environment Management Authority certificate. We are surprised that administrators are selling our stones. The DC and his DO have been leasing our landfrom January,” he added.

Mr Christopher Lonyala, who has filed a case on Chepchoina scheme, called on the government to suspend the quarrying as the case is still in court.

“In 1994, former President Daniel Arap Moi gave out five farms belonging to the whites to former PC Ismael Chelang’a and Walter Kilele. Locals were also given land.  Let the government suspend quarrying till the case is heard and determined,” said Mr Lonyala.

CLAIMS DISMISSED

The residents further demanded cooperate social responsibility programmes such as water, schools and health centre projects. “Our livestock depend on the hill for pasture. Further, this is a  holy place for worship,” said Mr. Nalasukum Tarapus.

Ms Esther Chepusera said: “The Chinese  have been uprooting our maize."

However, speaking to Nation on phone, Mr Maina dismissed the claims, saying the area where quarrying is taking place is in Trans-Nzoia County.

He noted that the parcel number II 28,G L is a public land. He added that stone quarrying is a public project, adding that the site was granted for the proposed company, according to the law.

Mr  Maina said they held a meeting with residents and Pokot leaders and came up with a memorandum of understanding, adding that they are performing their duties according to the law.

 

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