Firm stopped from mining in Safari rally tower tiff

A court has temporarily stopped a Chinese construction company from continuing with quarry excavation and stone mining in Ngubi Githungucu and Meyer Hill in Kiambu County following a dispute related to alleged destruction of a motor racing watchtower and parachuting site.

Thika Environment and Land Court judge Grace Kemei suspended the Sh300 million project being undertaken by Fujian Shixin Investment and Developers (K) Limited for a period of 30 days. The project is situated along Mai Mahiu-Rironi road in Ndeiya Limuru.

The judge issued the temporary orders following a suit filed by two civil rights activists Roy Kiarie and Joseph Njuguna on behalf of the community living around the two areas, where they claim the mining activities are destroying a hill which is a natural resource within a government forested land.

The activists added that the hill is also a tourist attraction as a watch tower for the safari rally as well as parachuting for camping excursions into Naivasha.

It was also alleged that the investor has failed to put up signage to aid the safety of the residents’ animals and livelihoods given the deployment of heavy machinery and explosives to quarry the stones.

The activists claimed that there was no public participation before the activities were sanctioned and that there were no approvals from Nema or the Cabinet Secretary for the issuance of mining licences.

The company, however, said it is the registered owner of the plots where excavation was taking place. It said the areas are not forest or public lands as alleged.

Mr Samuel Ayuya Getembe, who stated that he is a director and shareholder of the company, said the quarrying activities had been approved by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining.

Mr Getembe stated that the company has employed more than 50 locals as casuals daily and has invested in the acquisition of machinery and trucks for the business and its stoppage would occasion heavy losses.

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