Kituo cha Sheria Mombasa office has been working towards raising national and international awareness on human rights abuses related to the LAPPSET and promoting transparency and accountability to its citizens. This has been through conducting trainings on inter community dialogue forums. Participants from local civil society organizations (environmental groups, development organizations, youth groups, women organizations, welfare groups, and local communities) who fall under the Save Lamu coalition were involved in the training. 39 were male and 21 were female. The inter-dialogue forum allowed for the community to share their experiences in open conversations and also get a legal interpretation on the same in a simplified mode that is easily understood.
(Participants during the Inter-community forum)
The inter community dialogue forums provided the space needed to start crucial conversations that discussed various issues. Key among them in both pate and Amu were the problems that will be caused or aggravated by LAPPSET project, Insecurity issues, land rights, drug abuse, low education levels, weak leadership and health. It also emerged that the importance of women representation in various committees that are formed by the communities to address issues they grapple with was mainly cosmic. The women had no voices in these crucial platforms. Something attributed to the choice of women and also culture.
It emerged that the importance of women representation in various committees that are formed by the communities to address issues they grapple with was mainly cosmic. The women had no voices in these crucial platforms. Something attributed to the choice of women and also culture.
Poverty emerged to be at the epicenter of all the problems that the community discussed. The recent one was pegged to the survey process that was ongoing and how the locals were selling their land to other people who were not indigenous even in that process.
Certain myths about the effects of the LAPPSET project were demystified in the forum. It emerged that there is very limited understanding of the true picture of the Lamu port under the LAPPSET project. It was also keen to note that some of the older members of community are totally opposed to the project until historical injustices are addressed. However the younger ones were able to highlight some of the benefits that will flow to the community with the development of the port. The need for benefit sharing and public participation was also very strongly put across as a role the government needed to play for the community to embrace the port project.
On land the lack of titles is still a problem in Lamu. It also emerged that most land committees that were formed to fight for the locals to own land are the same that were giving land to immigrants. This was more so in Pate and Siu areas. The problem is so rife that the parliamentary committee on land had to intervene by coming to the ground but they are yet to give a report on their findings.
The issue of the curfew as relates to security was one that was deeply and strongly discussed. The participants were against the curfew as it has affected their source of livelihood which is fishing. The hours that they fish are mostly wee hours of the morning and in the night when the curfew is implemented. The curfew also affected their prayer times especially for the night prayers that begin at 8pm as per the Islamic religion. This was more felt by the mainland people whose curfew starts at 6:30pm.
The issue of drug abuse and trafficking was attributed to weak leadership and parenting too. The community said that the traffickers were well known but the leadership and the community is afraid to confront them. This has made the vice rampant.