NECC meeting notes Tuesday 16th November 2021

After SCRA contacted the NECC (National Environmental Complaints Committee) about environmental issues in Diani and Tiwi, the NECC came to visit all sites in March 2021. In their report they issued 7 recommendations for Diani and 4 recommendations for Tiwi.

As we felt that the KCG (Kwale County Government) had not done enough to act on these recommendations, we contacted the NECC again and with the backing of KARA (Kenya Alliance of Residents Association), we convinced them to do a follow-up visit.

We were invited to a meeting yesterday which was to start with a courtesy visit to the Governor at his offices in Kwale at 7.45 am. It turned out that neither the governor, nor the deputy governor had time to see us and we were received by the County Secretary, Mr. Martin Mwaro. The NECC team was led by their chairman and their secretary Dr. John Chumo. They brought reinforcement in the form of the CAS (Chief Administrative Secretary) in the ministry of Environment and Forestry, Hon. Mohammed Elmi. They expressed their displeasure that neither governor nor his deputy was able to meet us.

SCRA was represented by myself and Onesmus Macharia. Other attendees were Mr. Wafula of NEMA, the KCG CEC (County Executive Committee) for Environment, Mrs. Saumu, representatives from KPLC, Department of forestry, KCG lands office, NLC (National Lands Commission), WRA (Water Resource Management Authority), Mr. Mwandaro of the Diani Municipality Board and others.

The meeting started at 8.15am and the CAS Elmi reiterated their 11 recommendations. Some answers were given at that meeting which I will touch upon later. We then proceeded to a courtesy visit to the County Commissioner Mr. Oyagi at 9am. NECC had also invited 2 kaya elders to this meeting and they reported of the invasion of the kaya Tiwi by land grabbers and the NECC promised to address this issue with the help of the CC. Oyagi. We also mentioned illegal developments in Diani and CC Oyagi was interested to hear that a developer had defied a court stop order and continued building. He asked me to come and see him privately to discuss this issue.

We then returned to the office of the governor at 10am where we were also joined by the DCC (Deputy County Commissioner) and the OCPD (Officer Commanding Police Division) Matuga sub-county. Including all the other NECC committee members and their staff, we were about 25 people.

CAS Elmi chaired the meeting and we were given some answers concerning the NECC recommendations.

We then proceeded to site visits in Tiwi where the team looked at quarries opposite Amani Tiwi Hotel and 1 other site. They found some workers loading a lorry with freshly cut coral blocks and interviewed them about their jobs. It turned out that stone cutting now mostly happens at night and that those who don’t steal power from KPLC use diesel generators. The NECC team was suitably shocked by the environmental damage caused by the quarries and was surprised how close these quarries were to residential areas.

The next stop was the beach access road south of Southern Palms Hotel in Diani which has been blocked by a mosque. The CAS Elmi decided to pray at the mosque and had a meeting with the imam. The conclusion was that Golden Palms Hotel will be asked to set aside a piece of land where the mosque can be relocated.

The next stop was the mosque under construction between Diani Bazar and the Tyre Centre. CAS Elmi stated that there is no law stating that mosques or churches can’t be built in residential areas, but instructed Mwandaro to make sure that the morning calls to prayers should not disturb the neighbours. NEMA was tasked to monitor this.

We then proceeded to the Tradewinds Beach Access Road and the NECC expressed their disgust at the mushrooming of structures. Mwandaro tried to claim that most of these had been sanctioned and/or erected by KCG, but under pressure he had to admit that only the toilet block had been built by KCG. Several recommendations were made which I will resume later.

The last stop was a conclusive meeting at Piri Piries at 3pm where all participants were given the opportunity to express their opinions.

The following emerged from all those meetings and site visits regarding the 7 recommendations for Diani:

  1. On the zoning plan for Diani Ukunda, CEC Saumu said that a contract to develop such a plan was given to Geodev Kenya Ltd and that the first stakeholder meeting would take place this Saturday in the Kinondo area. We were promised an invitation
  2. No answer on the recommendation that WARMA should carry out pegging of the sea shore
  3. CEC Saumu stated that there were budgetary and political obstacles to the removal of illegal structures on beaches and beach access roads. Mwandaro stated that Amigos was given a deadline of 6 months to close shop. Mwureni was not mentioned specifically. CAS Elmi directed that a multi-agency team will be formed to address all these issues. This team should include:

– KCG security agency

– Diani Municipality



– National Lands Commission

– Kwale lands office

– Public Health

– Ministry of Lands

– Physical planning

– Museums of Kenya



This team should meet latest by Wednesday next week, will be chaired by the county commissioner and will be tasked to plan the demolition of illegal structures on the beach (SCRA was asked to compile a list of such structures) and to plan a regulated development of beach access roads.

  1. The recommendation that all developments along beach access roads meet the necessary hygiene standards (controlled by NEMA and Public Health) is covered in point 3
  2. We were assured that the Diani Municipality Board is fully established and funded as has started working. Maureen will comment on this separately.
  3. CEC Saumu claimed that KCG has started an awareness campaign on the value of beaches and sand dunes
  4. No comment on the progress on the strengthening and enforcement of relevant regulations to protect beaches and shoreline habitat.

The 4 recommendations on Tiwi all covered the illegal stone quarries.

According to NEMA, none of the quarries in Tiwi are licensed, but they produce up to 10.000 stones a day, have 3.000 employees and provide 70% of the demand for cut coral blocks in Kwale and beyond. The only licensed quarries are in the Waa area.

The NECC, NEMA and KPLC were unanimous that the current quarries need to be closed down. They have another meeting with security agencies and local chiefs and administrators in Tiwi today to plan a way forward. Some ideas that were discussed were:

  • KCG to stop collecting CESS fees from the lorries transporting stones from Tiwi
  • Forming cooperatives to carry out licensed quarrying in areas demarcated by NEMA, away from residential areas
  • KCG to confiscate lorries that flout these regulations
  • KCG to present plans on the rehabilitation of disused quarries
  • Cunty Commissioner, lands office and KCG to try to identify the owners of the land where quarrying takes place
  • KPLC to continue disconnecting illegal power connections under the protection of the security agencies

I might have omitted some facts, but Maureen took notes during our final meeting and we will publish her notes ASAP. Another positive outcome of these meetings was that Mr. Macharia reconsidered his decision earlier in the year that he would offer his resignation from the SCRA committee as he was demoralised by the lack of action by the KCG. After today’s meetings he feels that SCRA is making massive progress in pushing our agenda and will remain on the committee.


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