SENIOR government officials will meet with managers of a Chinese roads company in Nairobi tomorrow over the controversial ballast quarry in Kajiado.
Work at the Sh2.6 billion Nairobi's Southern by-pass was threatened on Tuesday after lpoliticians stopped operations at Kerrarapon ballast quarry over complaints that residents were not consulted when the Chinese company signed a deal with the Ministry of livestock to mine on the 20-acre farm in Ngong.
The meeting will be attended by Cabinet Secretary for Roads Michael Kamau, Principal Secretary Ministry of Livestock Khadija Kassaoon, Nema director general, Kajiado Senator Peter Mositet, China Road and Bridge Corporation project Manager, Mo Kun and his team, Kajiado Governor David Nkedianye and Kerrarapon residents' association's James Gaguchia.
On Tuesday, Mositet and a local politician George Nyoike went to Kerrarapon quarry and ordered stopped all activities at the site over complaints that the area residents have been adversely affected health wise by the quarrying in the area.
Mositet said buildings around the quarry have since cracked following alleged use of powerful explosives. There are allegations that livestock and women were having miscarriages every time there were blasts which the China official, Boniface Githinji said were gelignite explosives.
Githinji admitted that the explosives they use if not managed properly could cause disaster to living things such as humans and livestock. Residents claim their chickens were no longer producing eggs while others said their women were no longer conceiving babies.
The meeting in Nairobi is also expected to establish how the Ministry of Livestock and the Chinese entered into the agreement without the involvement of all the stakeholders in government and in the public sector.
Kun on Tuesday told the Star that China roads Construction Company started work at the Kerrarapon quarry last year after they were given the land by the Ministry of Livestock and that they were not informed of any other issues to be followed.
"We are ready to cooperate with the government of Kenya, its people and every interested party if we are given guidelines to follow. We came and we were received by the government in good faith to take up some of the constructions including roads and we are therefore ready to follow the law," said Kun.
He denied having revoked the name of the president to intimidate Kajiado senator, Mositet, adding that he would not do that to the people they are doing business with.
Meanwhile Nema has since ordered the quarry closed over claims by the area residents that mining activities had severely affected their health. A letter dated August 14th, 2013, was signed by BM Langwen for the Director General, and it said in part; "Following complaints received by the authority from Kerarapon residents on the environmental degradation by quarrying activity, the authority draws your attention to the Act (EMCA), 1999".
Langwen said Nema had not carried any impact assessment as required by law and therefore the activities at the quarry cease immediately. "You are therefore directed to cease the quarrying on the site immediately and undertake EIA of the project activity within 21 days of service of this letter," the letter from Nema further stated.
Mositet said he will not work with rude investors who instead of talking to the leaders in a civilized manner they behave like they own Kenya."I was elected by these people and I must listen to them. It the Chinese cannot cooperate, then we have no option but to keep them off Kajiado," said an angry Mositet.
He said the Chinese Road Company had been given 20 acres of land by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock to do the quarrying last year but the local people were not consulted.
"While we believe that Kenya is bigger than individuals, the people of Kajiado should also benefit from this activity," added Mositet. Kun pleaded with Mositet to allow their Lories take away ground ballast but he was not willing to do so until all the stakeholders in government and the representatives of the local people meet on Friday, this week, to iron the matter.
It was the local Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Okaka Etyang who managed to convince Mositet to allow the Chinese to take away the ballast and wait the resumption of the quarrying after the stakeholders meeting.
Kun said his company was collecting more than 80, 000 tonnes of ballast from the site every day and stopping the works midway will greatly affect the construction of the southern bypass.
Residents who spoke said their lives have been disturbed by the blasting of the mines each day, adding that the Chinese engineers were using massive explosives to get the boulders. But the Chinese administrator on the site, Boniface Githinji said they were only using gelignite explosives that were manageable.
Residents led by Gaguchia said their children have been traumatized by heavy blasts and that their livestock were not breeding normally. A school near the mines has several cracks on their buildings because of the blasts. A teachers' toilet was also brought down by blasts.
Nyoike said the Chinese Company was mining ballast from Kajiado and yet the local county government was getting nothing out of its resources. He said that other lories that collect building materials from the county pay Sh250 per ton of what they carry.
"We cannot understand what agreement these Chinese entered with the government. The ballast they are drawing here go to Nairobi, so what do we get?" asked Nyoike.