NGO Coalition Positions on Sondo-Miriu Hydropower project (April 26,2001)
NGO COALITION ON SONDU-MIRIU HPP
Tel/Fax 254 2 555513. PO Box 10538, Nairobi Kenya. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
April 26, 2001
The Managing Director
RE: NGO Coalition POSITIONS on Sondu-Miriu HYDROPOWER project
After a meeting to review recent events in the Sondu-Miriu Hydro-Power Project (SMHPP), the NGO Coalition has come up with the following position.
Following strong lobby by the NGO Coalition, a Technical Committee (TC) to review SMHPP and find solutions to the problems was set up on January 26 in Kolweny. The Coalition attended the meetings of February 2, February 16, February 26, March 2, March 14, March 15 and March 16. Each sub-committee (Land Compensation and Resettlement, Employment and Economic Opportunities, and Environment) submitted preliminary reports and recommendations in the March 16 meeting. Recommended were matters that required immediate, short-term, mid-term, and long-term action.
It was to our consternation to see on that day a report of one of the committees (Employment and Equal Opportunities) altered by the sub-committee Chairman to remove names of an individual (the KENGEN Community Liaison Officer and TC Co-ordinator). This employee was to be suspended pending further investigations of allegations of corruption against him. The Committee also recommended names of other individuals allegedly corrupt (the Konoike Personnel Manager, and the Administration Manager) be suspended to facilitate investigations of the allegations. These officers still maintain their positions. The committee on Environment recommended, among others, that the sewage tanker KAL 565Z stops sprinkling water on the dust road. This required immediate action. The tanker, suspected of polluting the dust, still sprinkles water on the road. The committee on Compensation and Resettlement noted that rates used to pay for the so-called "improvements" was not disclosed to affected people and this breakdown be made available to them for verification. Again, this was ignored.
Because of these issues, the NGO Coalition observers that our continued participation in the TC is subject to the implementation of the following:
1. Composition of the Technical Committee
The current composition of the TC is not representative of all interest groups. The majority members of the TC were composed mainly by KENGEN and the Provincial Commissioner. Some of the professionals lack the capacity to tackle some of the complex and scientific nature of issues in the project. The committee composition is also interim and has not been ratified. For this reason, we recommend the existing committee dissolves itself so that it can be reconstituted as follows: Representative of KENGEN and one representative from each member organisation of the NGO Coalition and elected leaders.
Given the technical nature of some of the issues being addressed by the said committee, we propose the following be professionals be part of the reconstructed TC:
1.Land Surveyor 5.Sociologist
2.Labour Expert 6.Economist
3.Geologist 7.Legal Expert
4.Water Enginee 8.Toxicologist
We also propose that the following interest groups be represented in the Committee:
2.Memorandum of Understanding
We strongly recommend the TC be made a legal entity with a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between KENGEN and the Community.
KENGEN's chairmanship of the TC is solely protecting the dam builder's interest instead of adhering to the resolutions of the Committee meetings. We therefore propose that an acceptable and respectable person outside KENGEN to be endorsed by all parties to replace him.
We have noted that proceedings of the TC are only open to members of the Press or those favoured by KENGEN. Given the stakes involved and the fact that only one representative of each group sits in the Committee, we propose that the proceedings be open to other interested observers.
Decisions of the Technical Committee shall be by unanimous agreement by all members.
6.Harassment and Court Cases Facing some members of the NGO Coalition
Having carefully investigated and considered the charges brought against Mr Argwings Odera and two others not in court (Pireh Otieno and Duncan Odima) as a result of the 19 points under discussion by TC, we observe the vindicating issues that have emerged through these deliberations. Therefore, as a sign of goodwill that has been shown by all the parties concerned, it is our view that the said Court case be dropped unconditionally.
Given the serious allegations of corruption during the implementation of Phase I of the project, we call for an internationally reputable auditor to scrutinise the project funds received from the Japanese Bank for International Corporation (JBIC) and equipment supplied to the project. Such audit be conducted regularly to avoid corruption.
8.19 Points to Japan
We stand by the 19 points to Japan which formed the basis to the TC. We affirm that those points have not been tackled satisfactorily. We look forward to a more inclusive and professional Technical Committee to adequately address them for the benefit of the community and the Nation.
c.c. Embassy of Japan
Japan Bank for International Co-operation
Ministry of Energy
Parliamentary Committee on Energy
Vumbi Group 2000
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