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Role of Science and Technology in Environmental Management in Kenya

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By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publication of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

Science and technology has been identified as capable of providing effective solutions to most, if not all, environmental problems facing the world. In the context of environmental management, environmental science studies the mechanisms and processes underlying our interactions with the natural environment whereas environmental technology allows application of such knowledge through actions geared towards environmental protection and conservation. Technology not only refers to machines and equipment, but also includes the knowledge, abilities, skills, processes and systems necessary to facilitate environmental conservation and protection. To this extent, technology has been classified as soft technology which entails information, training, research and capacity building and hard technology comprising of equipment.

Science and technology have resulted in many environmental problems but can also be key to addressing environmental concerns such climate change, waste management and environmental degradation. It has been described as a double edged sword capable of both doing and undoing environmental damage. Most environmental challenges such as global warming and climate change can be attributed to technological innovations since they are majorly caused by industrial pollution and fuel emissions from motor vehicles. Addressing these environmental concerns requires the input of science and technology through measures such as reducing greenhouse gases, conserving biological diversity, providing clean energy and expanding the adoption of green technologies for climate change mitigation.

Environmental management and decision making in Kenya is governed by laws, regulations, and policies. Due to the shortcomings of such laws, regulations and policies, there is need for these processes to be informed by scientific evidence. Indeed, science has the ability to remedy the shortcomings of laws and regulations through effective solutions tailor made to specific problems. The outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is a clear example. Whereas countries have applied laws such as lock downs, curfews, quarantine and travel restrictions, spread of the virus still continues and the most effective solution to the pandemic would be through scientific knowledge and research to discover a cure and a viable vaccine. In the context of environmental management, there is need to link law and science in order to ensure effective environmental management.

In Kenya, the Constitution obligates the state to recognize the role of science and indigenous technologies in the development of the nation. To this effect, strides have been made towards the use of science and technology in environmental management. The ban on the manufacture, importation, supply, distribution and use of plastic bags and the subsequent adoption of woven bags has helped to curb environmental pollution. However, more needs to be done to integrate the use of science and technology in environmental management in Kenya. Adoption of cleaner technologies in such areas as transport, energy production and food production can be an effective preventive measure. Scientific knowledge is also useful in helping the citizenry adopt healthy lifestyles for a better, cleaner and healthier environment.

Some of the measures that can be adopted towards integrating the use of science and technology in environmental management in Kenya include:

Industrial Waste Treatment

In Kenya, most of the waste discharged from industries is not treated before recycling or disposal. This poses health risks and causes damage to the environment since such waste is often discharged into water sources. Consequently, the industries involved in pollution have found themselves at war with environment entities including the National Environment Management Authority. Some of the measures that have taken by NEMA include closure of industries allegedly engaged in these acts. However, with recent reports of industrial pollution of river sources such as the Nairobi River, questions still linger on the effectiveness of measures adopted in dealing with this challenge. Industrial pollution is a global problem which is not alien to Kenya.

Scientific measures that have been adopted to deal with industrial waste include use of materials such as zeolites, geopolymers, activated carbons and nanomaterials due to their characteristics such as ion exchange capacity, adsorption and photocatalytic action. However, use of science and technology in industrial waste treatment has not been fully appreciated in Kenya. NEMA acknowledges that waste treatment technologies have not been fully embraced in the country which can be attributed to a number of factors such as lack of awareness and knowledge of such technologies; inadequate funding; limited technical competence and slow adoption of modern technological options. There is need for the use of science and technology in industrial waste management in order to enhance environmental management and protection.

Adoption of Green and Clean Technologies

Green technology is an umbrella term that refers to the use of science and technology to create products and processes that are environmentally friendly for sustainable development. Clean technology refers to products or services that improve operational performance while reducing costs, energy consumption, waste or negative effects on the environment. These technologies can be used to protect the environment and in some instances repair damage done in the past. They provide the best ecofriendly option to ensure future sustainability. Such technologies include recycling of waste and use of renewable sources of energy solar, wind and geothermal energy.

Kenya has made some significant strides towards the adoption of green and clean technologies especially in the area of renewable energy. The country has been ranked as the largest producer of renewable energy in Africa with 70% of its electricity generation coming from renewable sources such as geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar sources. The government through the National Environment Management Authority imposed a ban on plastic carrier bags which has led to the use of eco-friendly nonwoven bags. Such measures are to be lauded since they offer significant promise in the country’s endeavour towards green and clean technologies. There is however need for more measures towards this endeavour such as the adoption of agricultural methods and technologies that are eco-friendly as opposed to the polluting and dangerous chemicals.

Climate Change Mitigation

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFFCC) defines climate change as change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activities which alter the composition of the global atmosphere and which are in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. Climate change has become a global concern in the 21st century and has been a dominant subject in political and scientific discussions. It is majorly caused by human activities that lead to atmospheric concentration of green-house gases such as burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and increase in carbon dioxide levels.

In order to curb this problem, nations under the Paris Agreement have come together under a common cause to undertake ambitious measures aimed at aimed at combating climate change and adapting to its effects. The Agreement is aimed at holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in recognition that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. The Agreement recognizes the role of science in climate change mitigation and calls upon states to adopt a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems.

Kenya like the rest of the world is faced with the threat of climate change. The Kenya National Adaptation Plan acknowledges the role of science, technology and innovations matched to local needs and risks towards climate change mitigation. It proposes thoughtful prioritization of research funding and policy to encourage innovation that will grow Kenya’s knowledge-based economy, building resilience through climate compatible development whilst also encouraging the expansion of technology and expertise exports. The country should be more proactive in adoption of technological and scientific measures aimed at curbing climate change such as the use of clean energy sources.

*This is article is an extract from an article by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya): Muigua, K., Utilising Science and Technology for Environmental Management in Kenya, http://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Utilising-Science-and-Technology-for-Environmental-Management-in-Kenya.pdf. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is Kenya’s foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2021. 

References

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Human Rights Dimension of Covid-19 Response, available at https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/19/ human-rights-dimensions-covid-19-response (accessed on 03/04/2020).

Hsiang Kung. W., The Role of Science in Environmental Protection: Is the Development of Environmental Law Toward More Protective and Productive Way, or Distorted to Inequality, Through the Involvement of Science? Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1450811 (accessed on 18/03/2020).

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Kamau. J., How Nairobi River Lost Pollution Battle, Daily Nation, Monday, August 19, 2019 65 De Luca. P et al, Industrial Waste Treatment by ETS-10 Ion Exchanger Material, available at https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/ 11/11/2316 (accessed on 28/03/2020).

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National Environment Management Authority, 2 years on: Say no to plastic bags, available at http://www.nema.go.ke/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=296&catid=2&Itemid=451 (Accessed on 20/03/2020).

National Environment Management Authority, ‘The National Solid Waste Management Strategy’, available at http://www.nema.go.ke/images/Docs/Media%20centre/Publication/National%20 Solid%20Waste%20 Management%20Strategy%20.pdf, accessed on 28/03/2020.

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Factories Closed, Owners Arrested for Polluting Environment, available at http://www.nema.go.ke/index.php?option=com_content&view=article &id=298: factories-closedowners-arrested-for-polluting-environment&catid=10:news-and-events&Itemid=454 (accessed on 06/04/2020).

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Former KCB Company Secretary Sues Over Unlawful Dismissal

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Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania who has sued the Bank for Unlawful Dismissal

Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania has sued the lender seeking reinstatement or be compensated for illegal sacking almost three years ago. Lawyer Kania was the KCB Group company secretary until restructuring of the lender in 2021 that saw some senior executives dropped.

Through the firm of Senior Counsel Wilfred Nderitu, Kamau wants the court to order KCB Group to unconditionally reinstate him to employment without altering any of the contractual terms until his retirement in December 2025.

In his court documents filed before Employment and Labour Relations Court, the career law banker seeks the court to declare the reorganization of the company structure a nullity and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution. He further wants the court to declare that the position of Group Company Secretary did not at any time cease to exist within the KCB Group structure.

He further urged the Employment Court to declare that the recruitment and appointment of Bonnie Okumu, his former assistant, as the Group Company Secretary, in relation to the contemporaneous termination of his employment, was unprocedural, insufficient and inappropriate to infer a lawful termination of his employment.

“A declaration that the factual and legal circumstances of the Petitioner’s termination of employment were insufficient and inappropriate to infer a redundancy against him, and that any redundancy declared by the KCB Group in relation to him was therefore null, void and of no legal effect and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau says he was subjected to discriminatory practices by the KCB Bank Group in violation of his fundamental right to equality and freedom from discrimination as guaranteed in Article 27 of the Constitution and the termination of his employment was unfair, unjustified, illegal, null and void.

Lawyer Kamau further seeks the court to declare that the Non-Compete Clause in the 2016 Contract is unenforceable by the KCB Group as against him and is voidable by him as against the Bank ab initio, byreason of the termination of the Petitioner’s employment having been a violation of Articles 41(1) and 47(1) and (2) of the Constitution, and of the Employment Act.

He also wants the Employment Court to find that finding that KCB’s group legal representation by Messrs of Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates law firm in respect of his claim for unlawful termination of employment resulted in a clear conflict of interest by reason of the fact that a Founding and Senior Partner at the said firm lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga is also the Chairman of the CBK’s Board of Directors.

“A Declaration that the circumstances of KCB’s legal representation by Messrs. Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates resulted in a violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to have the employment dispute decided independently and impartially, as guaranteed in Article 50(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau is seeking damages against both KCB Group and Central Bank of Kenya jointly and severally for the violation of his constitutional and fundamental right to fair labour practices.

He wants  further wants court to declare that CBK is liable to petitioner on account of its breach of statutory duty to effectively regulate KCB Group to ensure that KCB complied with the Central Bank of Kenya Prudential Guidelines and all other Laws, Rules, Codes and Standards, and that, as an issuer of securities, it complied with capital markets legislation.

Kamau through his lawyer Nderitu told the court that he was involved in Shareholder engagement in introducing the Group aide-mémoire that significantly improved the management of the Annual General Meetings, including obtaining approval without voting through the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Kenya Commercial Bank Limited among others.

He said that during his employment at KCB Bank Kenya and with the KCB Group, he initially worked well with former KCB CEO Joseph Oigara until 2016 when the CEO allegedly started sidelining him by removing the legal function from his reporting line.

He further claims he was transferred from the Group’s offices at Kencom House to its offices Upper Hill under the guise that the Petitioner was merely to support the KCB Group Board.

He adds that at that point his roles were given to Okumu for reasons that were not related to work demands.  He stated that Oigara at one time proposed that he should leave his role in the KCB Group and go and serve as the Company Secretary of the National Bank of Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of the Group, a suggestion which he disagreed with to Oigara’s utter annoyance.

Kamau stated that his work was thenceforth unfairly discredited, leading to his being taken through a disciplinary process whose intended outcome failed miserably, and the Petitioner was vindicated.

“More specifically, the Petitioner contends that the purported creation of a new organizational structure towards the end of 2020 was in fact Oigara’s orchestration targeted to remove certain individuals by requiring them to undergo interviews in the pretext that new roles were created, and amounted to a further violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to fair labour practices under Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” said in his court documents.

He further adds that this sham reorganization demonstrates how the role of the KCB Group Company Secretary purportedly ceased to be and was then very briefly replaced with a new role of the KCB Group General Counsel. The role of KCB Group Company Secretary then ‘resurfaced’ immediately thereafter, in total violation of legal and regulatory requirements.

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Court of Appeal Upholds Eviction of Radcliffes from Karen Land

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Adrian Radcliffe, the Expatriate Squatter, Evicted from Karen Property by Innocent Purchaser for Value

The Court of Appeal has stayed the decision of the Environment and Land Court purporting to reinstate Adrian Radcliffe into possession of the 5.7 Acre Karen Land by Kena Properties Ltd after eviction by the lawful owners in February 2022. Adrian Radcliffe who was evicted by Kena Properties Ltd, the innocent purchaser of the Land for value.

Before his eviction, Mr. Radcliffe had been living on the land as a squatter expatriate for 33 years without paying any rent. Since he moved into the property as a tenant, he only paid deposit for the land in August 1989 despite corresponding severally with the owner of the land. His attempt to acquire the land by adverse possession claim filed in 2005 was dismissed by Court in 2011 on the basis that he has engaged with the owner of the land July 1997 and agreed to buy the land which he failed to do. The High Court [Justice Kalpana Rawal as she then was] concluded that:

“His [Mr. Adrian Radcliffe] averments that he did not have any idea of the whereabouts of the Defendant and that he could possibly be not alive, were not only very sad but mala fide in view of the correspondence on record addressed by him to the Defendant’s wife. I would thus find that the averments made by him to the contrary are untrue looking to the facts of this case.”

On 10th March 2022, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe and Family purported to obtain court orders for reinstatement into the land. However, the Court of Appeal issued an interim stay of execution of the said orders. The Court of Appeal has now granted the application of Kena Properties Ltd and stayed the execution of the Environment and Land Court Order pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.

The Court also stayed the proceedings at the Environment and Land Court on the matter during the pendency of the Appeal. In effect, the eviction orders issued by the Chief Magistrate Court for eviction of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe in favour of Kena Properties as the purchaser of the property for value were upheld and the company now enjoys unfettered ownership and possession of the suit property until the conclusion of the Appeal.

The Court of Appeal in granting the orders sought by Kena Properties Ltd concurred with Kena Properties Ltd that as the property owner it had an arguable appeal with a high probability of success which would be rendered nugatory if Adrian Radcliffe a trespasser was to resume his unlawful possession of the suit property, erect structures thereon, recklessly use or abuse the said suit property as he deems fit. In any case, that is bound to fundamentally alter the state of the suit property and render it unusable by Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner.

At the same time, the Appellate Court rubbished the argument of Adrian Radcliffe in opposition to the application for stay that he has been in occupation of the suit property for more than 30 years and that he and his family were unlawfully evicted from the suit property on 4th February, 2022. The Court also rejected Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties Ltd has no valid title to the suit property and held that as the purchaser, the company was entitled to enjoy ownership and possession of their property during the pendency of the appeal.

The Court dismissed claims of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe that Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner acquired title to the suit property illegally and unprocedurally finding to the contrary. Further, it rejected Adrian Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties as the purchaser cannot evict a legal occupier of a property putting paid to the claim that he was a legal occupier at the time of eviction.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe cannot claim to be the legal occupier of the property having attempted to acquire it by adverse possession before the High Court thwarted his fraudulent scheme on 28th February 2011. Mr. Radcliffe did not appeal the 2011 High Court decision meaning it is still the law that he is not the owner of the land nor the legal occupier of the land having attempted to adversely acquire against the interests of the lawful owner who sold it to Kena Properties.

Mr. Adrian Radcliffe is a well-to-do Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) UNICEF consultant and former UN employee (who has been earning hefty House Allowance). Many have wondered why he has been defaulting in paying rent for 33 years on the prime plot of land in Karen while living large and taking his kids to most expensive schools in Kenya. No question, a local Kenyan could never have gotten away with such selfish impunity.

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Review: Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1

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The Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Volume 9, Issue No. 1, which is edited by and published by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD is out and stays true to the reputation of the journal in providing a platform for scholarly debate on thematic areas in the fields of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development. The current issue published in September 2022 covers diverse topics including Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in Africa; National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya; Protection of Cultural Heritage During War; The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya; Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya; Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation; Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World; Status of Participation of Women in Mediation; Business of Climate Change and Critical Analysis of World Trade Organization’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment.

Dr. Wilfred A. Mutubwa and Eunice Njeri Ng’ang’a in “Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in an Integrating Africa: An Appraisal of the Role of Regional Arbitration Centres” explore the nature of disputes in the realm of oil and gas in Africa taking a look into the recent continental and sub-regional developments in a bid to establish regional integration. Additionally, it tests the limits of intra-African trade and dispute resolution and the imperatives for the African regional courts and arbitration centres. In “National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua discusses the role played by the National Environment Tribunal (NET) in promoting access to justice and enhancing the principles of sustainable development in Kenya. The paper also highlights challenges facing the tribunal and proposes recommendations towards enhancing the effectiveness of the tribunal.

Dr. Kenneth Wyne Mutuma in “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Times of War: A Case for History,” argues that cultural heritage is at the heart of human existence and its preservation even in times of war is sacrosanct. It concludes that it is thus critical for states to take positive and tangible steps to ensure environmental conservation and protection during war within the ambit of the existing international legal framework. In “The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya,” Jack Shivugu critically evaluates the role of water in the attainment of sustainable development in Kenya and argues water plays a critical role in the attainment of the sustainable development goals both in Kenya and at the global stage. The paper interrogates some of the water and Sustainable Development concerns in Kenya including water pollution, water scarcity and climate change and suggests practical ways to enhance the role of water in the Sustainable Development agenda.

Dr. Paul Ogendi in “Collective Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya,” reflects on property rights in relation to human biological materials obtained from research participants participating in genomic research. He argues that property rights are crucial in genomic research because they can help avoid exploitation or abuse of such precious material by researchers. In “Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua notes that Wetlands have a vital role in not just delivering ecological services to meet human needs, but also in biodiversity conservation. Wetlands are vital habitat sites for many species and a source of water, both of which contribute to biodiversity protection. The paper examines the role of wetlands in biodiversity conservation and how these wetland resources might be managed to improve biodiversity conservation.

Oseko Louis D. Obure in “Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World,” preponderance of disputes between States or States and Investors created need for a robust, effective, and efficient mechanisms not only for the resolution of these disputes but also their prevention. He notes that developing states lead in being parties to Investor-State Disputes (ISD) particularly as respondents. He proceeds to conceptualize and problematize investor-state disputes resolution in a fast-paced world. Lilian N.S. Kong’ani and Dr. Kariuki Muigua in “Status of Participation of Women in Mediation: A case Study of Development Project Conflict in Olkaria IV, Kenya” review the status of participation of women in mediation to resolve conflicts between KenGen and the community. The paper demonstrates a need for further democratization of the mediation processes to cater for more participation of women to enhance the mediation results and offer more sustainable resolutions.

Felix Otieno Odhiambo and Melinda Lorenda Mueni in “The Business of Climate Change: An Analysis of Carbon Trading in Kenya analyses the business of carbon trading in the context of Kenya’s legal framework. The article examines the legal framework that underpins climate change into the Kenyan legal system and provides an exposition of the concept of carbon trading and its various forms. Michael Okello, in “Critical Analysis of World Trade Organisation’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment: Prospects, Challenges and Emerging Trends in the 21st Century,” highlights the rationale behind MFN treatment and also restates the vision of multilateral trade to achieve equitable and special interventions with respect to trade in goods, services and trade related intellectual property rights in the affected states.

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