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More elders seek to block Sh34b Itare dam

By Julius Chepkwony | Updated Mon, February 27th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3
A section of the area where Itare dam is to be constructed in Kuresoi North in Nakuru County. The dam which will cover 600 acres will displace more than 14,000 people living in the area. PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH

A second petition seeking to stop the construction of the multi-billion-shilling Itare dam has been filed in court.

The petition was filed under certificate of urgency in the Kisii Environment and Labour Court last week by the Luo Council of Elders, the Kuria Council of Elders, the Abagusii Cultural and Development Council, and the Ogiek Community. They want the court to prevent Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, his Environment and Natural Resources counterpart, Judi Wakhungu, and the Rift Valley Water Services Board from constructing, digging, excavating, and putting up any structure in relation to the construction of the Sh34 billion dam pending the hearing and determination of their case.

The petition comes months after the Kipsigis Council of Elders moved to the Nakuru Environment and Lands Court to challenge the construction of the dam. The elders claimed that establishing the project within the Mau water catchment area would deprive their area of water as rivers flowing through Kericho and Bomet counties originate there.

The Nakuru court, however, declined to issue a temporary injunction and the matter has yet to be heard. The new petition, unlike the first one, accuses the government of failing to honour existing treaties and overlooking the environment assessment report presented to it.

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