The only landing beach at Lake Oloidien in Naivasha closed down

Herders drive their livestock to drink water in Lake Oloidien in Kongoni Naivasha after a perimeter wall blocking the corridor leading to the water body was brought down by members of the public after a private developer had fenced it off. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Tens of fisherfolk and ecotourism operators have been rendered jobless after Oloidien Landing Beach in Naivasha was closed down in unclear circumstances.

A private investor has fenced the popular public beach near Kongoni trading center, locking out over 200 people who have relied on the landing beach for several years.

Lake Oloidien is located next to Lake Naivasha and has been a source of income for tens of residents of Kongoni and Maella areas.

Following the move, the traders and local leaders have petitioned the National Land Commission (NLC) to intervene as the investor has erected an electric fence all the way into the water body.

According to Purity Wairimu, the chairperson of the landing beach, the facility was a source of income for several families in the center located 40 km from Naivasha town.

She said that the public beach was in operation for over ten years adding that their plea to government officers had fallen on deaf ears.

“The fencing of the land which includes the landing beach was done in the night and the fence stretches into the riparian land which is illegal,” she said.

While calling on NLC to intervene, she said that the only corridor to the water body had also been blocked by some of the investors around the lake.

“Though the lake is a public water body, only the rich and the landowners can access it, leaving the poor to suffer,” she said.

An eco-tourism operator Moses Karani said that following the impasse, tens of local and international operations have also been blocked from accessing the site.

He said that the move had rendered tens of people jobless with fears that their boats and other fish gear could be vandalized.

“The government is talking about creating job opportunities for youths but in Naivasha, powerful individuals are taking over public utility land,” he said.

Karani noted that during the fencing of the beach, several structures were brought down and others vandalized by hired goons who had the protection of police.

Speaking on phone, Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Mutua Kisilu confirmed the closure of the beach adding that the Kenya Fisheries Service (KFS) was addressing the row.

“The beach had been closed earlier after the fisher-folk fell out during their elections and the matter has been taken over by KFS who will come up with a solution,” he said.

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