Press Statement on Karura Forest
February 23, 2016
Say No to Land Grabbing of Karura Forest
Thank you for your continued interest in the integrity and preservation of Karura Forest.
The Green Belt Movement (GBM) is concerned about proposed development of the Sigiria Block of Karura Forest. Ibis Hospitality Ltd has proposed to develop 25 acres of the Sigiria block for commercial use, which violates the 2016-2020 strategic forest management plan developed jointly by the Kenya Forest Service and Friends of Karura Forest. This plan is currently awaiting signature by the Kenya Forest Service. The unsigned draft is available on the GBM website.
Under the 2016-2020 plan, Ibis has no authority to develop any part of Karura forest and should be prevented from taking any further steps to encroach upon the forest.
Before any further action is taken, the Kenya Forest Service must account to the Kenyan people. GBM demands that they provide all details, including licensing, tender documents, and any other agreements, if they exist, that relate to the Sigiria Block. We are only asking for that to which we are entitled: Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 demands citizens the right to access to information and compels the Kenya Forest Service to provide it.
In its statement regarding Ibis’s encroachment, the Kenya Forest Service referred to an unrelated case about encroachment of the Karura Forest, York World Wide Holdings Ltd vs. Kenya Forest Service & another. This case, as well as, Kenya Anti-corruption Commission vs. Gigiri Court Limited, and Ruhangi vs. Kenya Forest Service show that the Karura Forest is constantly under threat, but none of them relate to the Sigiria Block. The resolution of these cases will not resolve Ibis’s attempted land grabbing.
We are demanding information, but we need your help. Public land is the people’s land, and we all have the right to know how it will be used. Please add your voice in support of the Karura Forest by signing our petition.