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Maasai Morans Razes Down Contested Sh2 Billion Incinerator in Kitengela

The multibillion hazard waste factory at Embuyangat area of Kitengela goes up in smoke this afternoon after a fierce fight betweel locals and hired people. Photo by Jacob Maloi
The multibillion hazard waste factory at Embuyangat area of Kitengela goes up in smoke this afternoon after a fierce fight betweel locals and hired people. Photo by Jacob Maloi

Several scores of people were injured in Kitengela’s Embuyangat area on Thursday after two groups of people attacked each other in a protest over the presence of an alleged foul smell-letting incinerator.

Eye witnesses told KNU this afternoon that 200 militia-like youth hired by the owner of the contested waste management company blocked a group of local Maasai from accessing the facility.

After being repulsed, the Maasai morans went away to regroup and turned up 3pm in large numbers and overran the facility.

Isinya Police boss, Stephen Weda, told this reporter he had seen the damage at the facility and that section of the machines had been razed down by a fire lit by the local youth.

Before we could end our conversation, Weda’s phone went mute owing to the poor network in the affected area.

The Sh2 billion-facility and the largest incinerator in East and Central Africa was this afternoon completely razed down and was still emitting smoke as were filing this story at 4pm.

The owner of the waste management company, Dr. Philip Mwabe, declined in January to heed to Governor David Nkedianye’s advice to close down the facility over alleged health hazard issues.

During a meeting called by Nkedianye in Kajiado, and which was attended by Mwabe, the two threw epitaph at each other as the owner of the factory swore he would not close it down.

In 2015, Star journalist Kurgat Marindany was seriously wounded at the facility near Stoni Athi in Embuyangat when Maasai morans mistook him for a police officer.

Several police officers were injured by stone-throwing youth at the time.

In January during another incident two police officers were injured at a peaceful protest that turned later turned chaotic.

The officers attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) were part of a group of officers who were dispatched to keep law and order during a demonstration organized by the residents who were opposing the construction of a multimillion hazardous waste treatment plant in the area.

Trouble started when the two officers arrived on foot and were mistaken to be employees of the plant.

The residents pelted stones and other crude weapons at the officers run for their dear life.

The officers were forced to fire twice in the air to scare the angry residents who had camped for more than seven hours waiting to be addressed by Governor Nkedianye.

However, the situation normalised when the residents realised that the two men were DCI officers and not the workers of the plant.

The more than five hundred agitated residents arrived in the area early in the morning to protest the construction of the plant that includes a laboratory and a disposal unit, saying it has been producing a foul smell.

A local priest, Stephen Tipatet had warned that the local people would not allow the establishment of the incinerator which claimed was emitting hazardous waste in the air.

“Our children, people and even the livestock are disturbed as cases of respiratory problem here is on the rise,” added a local resident Nathan Kisemei.

Tension remained high, at the time, in and outside the premises as Governor Nkedianye argued with the plant owner Mwambe.

At one time Mwambe told the Governor that he would better die than close down the premises.

”That is not our business to know whether you want to die or what, we are here so that you can close the company in order to cool down the tension building out there, and you must do it now” ordered the Governor.

The governor’s order to close the facility was fulfilled and the plant closed indefinitely.

Mwabe called a press conference to say he planned to install a new equipment that includes gasification machines which have been approved for safe air emissions because they use methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen that are burned at high temperatures and the energy from them is used to drive electric power turbines.

He said in the initial stages, the plant will be able to produce 100 KW of electric power to be supplied to the neighbouring community and that by mid next year more gasification machines will be added with the aim of achieving a set target of 500 KW of electricity to be added to the national grid.

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