Last update:
2021-11-19

Private development in Kiambu Forest near Nairobi, Kenya

Business developers have been illegally lang-grabbing parts of the Kiambu Forest while terrorizing any opposition. Joannah Stutchbury was likely killed for winning a court case evicting one of the developers, Agropack Limited


Description:

The Kiambu Forest is on the outskirts of Nairobi and encompasses important water sources feeding into the Nairobi Water Basin such as the Gitathiru River [12]. Although the over 1,040ha forest was declared a protected area in 1963, rampant deforestation is still occurring at the hands of wealthy business developers [10]. The land in recent years has been attracting many land-grabbers for housing developments [12]. This has caused water sources to dry up and wildlife to disappear. 90% of the communities living in the forest have also lost their livelihoods, been displaced, and are forced to live as squatters elsewhere [10]. This includes the indigenous Ogiek and Sengwer peoples [9]. Environmentalists are also concerned that the deforestation of over a third of the protected forest land means that there will be fewer trees to absorb pollution from the air. Campaigners argue that long-term effects include famine, hunger, and diseases [10].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Private development in Kiambu Forest near Nairobi, Kenya
Country:Kenya
State or province:Kiambu
Location of conflict:Kiambu
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Urban development conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:1,040
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1988
Company names or state enterprises:Agropack Limited
Bahati MP Onesmus
Pelican Engineering & Company Limited
Wisebo Investments Limited
Kama Agencies Limited
Relevant government actors:Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Ministry of Environment
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:WildlifeDirect, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Fridays for Future-Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA), Greenwalk-Kenya, Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI), Greenpeace Africa, Amnesty International, ILC Africa, Frontline Defenders, Conservation Alliance of Kenya, Animal Survival International
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Ogiek and Sengwer Indigenous peoples
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Air pollution, Noise pollution, Soil contamination
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Migration/displacement
Repression
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although Stutchbury was able to win a court case blocking Agropack from encoraching into the forest, other companies continue developing the land and there is still impunity for her killer(s).
Sources & Materials

[3] Business & Human Rights. No arrests made for murder of conservationist threatened by road developers (2021)
[click to view]

[7] Amnesty International. WHO HAD ENOUGH MOTIVE TO KILL JOANNAH STUTCHBURY? (Houghton 2021)
[click to view]

[10] IPS News. The People’s Campaign Against ‘Land Grabbing’ (Achieng 1998)
[click to view]

[4] Thingira. Police probe Tangatanga MP’s link to environmentalist’s murder (2021)
[click to view]

[12]The Daily Maverick. Kenyan forest defender Joanna Stutchbury assassinated in gangster-style slaying (Pinnock 2021)
[click to view]

[1] The Guardian. Environment activist shot dead outside Nairobi home after death threats (Burke 2021)
[click to view]

[8] Nation. Conservationist Stutchbury had been living in fear of her life (2021)
[click to view]

[5] Scrolla. Lifelong defender of Kenya’s forests shot dead (Greene 2021)
[click to view]

[9] Kenyans. Joannah Stutchbury's Houseboy Spills Beans on MP Who Threatened Her (Wangari 2021)
[click to view]

[11] K24. Shock as Kiambu environmentalist Joanna Stutchburry is shot dead inside her car (Kiage 2021)
[click to view]

[2] Common Dreams. 'This Is Sickening': Forest Defender Joanna Stuchburry Shot to Death in Kenya (Germanos 2021)
[click to view]

[6] Nyakundi. Environment Ministry Ties Pelican Engineering & Company Ltd To Brutal Murder Of Environmentalist (2021)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Dalena Tran, ICTA-UAB, [email protected]
Last update19/11/2021
Comments
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