Slum Residents Awarded Ksh1.3 Billion After KTN Exposé

Africa Uncensored
  • The government has been ordered to pay Ksh1.3 billion to residents of Owino Uhuru slum in Jomvu, Mombasa, who had filed a class action suit in 2016.

    Their plight had been highlighted by investigative journalist John Allan Namu on KTN, with the victory for the residents being announced on on Thursday, July 16. 

    The Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health and Export processing Zones Authority will each share 10% of the bill. 

    Africa Uncensored’s John Allan Namu conducts an interview.

    The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) was slapped with the greatest chunk of the cost – 40 %. 

    The EPZ Metal Refinery will contribute 25% while former Nyali MP Hezron Awiti’s Penguin Paper and Book Company will incur 5% of the bill. 

    In 2016, Omido and a team of lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit arguing that the government and the lead factory owners were contributing to the pollution of the environment leading to many deaths. 

    The 3,000 residents either worked or bordered the now-defunct smelting plant, Metal Refinery EPZ Ltd.

    According to court documents, NEMA was accused of failing in its mandate to carry environmental assessment and ensure the smelter adhered to regulations needed for its operation.

    The residents faulted the Ministry of Health for failing to protect them, despite knowing the dangers of lead.

    During the trial, some local witnesses complained of suffering from the effects of pollution, among them chest pains, itchiness, skin rashes, anaemia, low intellectual weakening of bones and impotence.

    Wandera Bideru, a retired deputy government chemist also testified in court, narrating the tests he conducted for the residents.

    “Some samples had high content of lead, above the normal range of five micrograms per decilitre in children and 10 micrograms per decilitre in adult,†he told the court. 

    Pamoja Trust program officer James Ketty addressing the press over Owino Uhuru lead poison case.
    Pamoja Trust program officer James Ketty addressing the press over Owino Uhuru lead poison case.

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