The establishment of a factory usually comes with goodies like the creation of job opportunities that would spur economy but regrettably, locals decry that for the few months Kipsigis Highlands Tea Factory has existed, it has been known for negatives life-threatening activities.
On Saturday, a journalist was injured while two others escaped almost naked after untrained guards (Watchmen) manning the facility were allegedly ordered by management to beat, destroy their tools of the trade and chase them out of the scandalous firm.
Weldon Kirui, a reporter with Taach FM based in Bomet is now nursing injuries on his cheeks after one of the guards hit him with a nut (rungu) hurting his jaws.
Kirui together with his colleague Hillary Mutai (Emoo FM) were trying to rescue their veteran colleague Vitalis Kimutai (Daily Nation) whose camera had been confiscated by the ruthless guards.
The journalists went to the facility to seek a fair comment from the management to the claims by a section of the residents that the facility was discharging hurtful waste materials into two local rivers.
As the media fraternity and members of the general public condemn the incident, all eyes are set on the security officers who promised through their boss Alex Shikondi to arrest the suspects and let them face assault charges.
“Confiscate their cameras and phones and bundle them inside the factory compound. We do not want them here…ensure they do not take pictures,” commanded the man who was at the loading bay inside the factory, dressed in a white coat.
Unconfirmed reports from our preliminary investigations links the firm to Indians operating Kipsigis Traders Company in Kericho and senior kipsigis elders among them General Koech and rtd. amb. Joshua Terer.
Industrial waste may be toxic, ignitable, corrosive or reactive. If improperly managed, this waste can pose dangerous health and environmental consequences.
Industries are required to have treatment facilities for industrial effluents because the effects of water pollution are not only devastating to people but also to animals, fish, and birds.
Polluted water is unsuitable for drinking, recreation, agriculture, and industry. It diminishes the aesthetic quality of lakes and rivers and hazards human health.
Before establishing such factories, environmental auditors and National Management Authority (NEMA) inspectors must assess the sites for suitability if adheres to environmental regulatory frameworks, environmental standards, environmental health and safety measures and sustainable use of natural resources and therefore given terms to follow in order to qualify Effluent Discharge License (EDL) but the Bomet factory flouted the rules.
Besides the Media Freedom provided by Article 34, Article 35 of the Kenyan Constitution provides that every citizen has a right to access information held by state or held by another person.
Today a group of residents of Konoin speaking on phone said the factory should better lives of people but not to harm them.
” We appeal to NEMA, security offices and Bomet county government to crack the whip and punish these ruthless traders who discharge solid and liquid waste into our rivers with total disregard to lives of people and livestock,” Johnstone Sang said
Sang accused the firm being owned by a group of investors among them Ambossodor Joshua Terer of being inhuman and rebelling
He further accused them of threatening to beat locals who ask them to repair their faulty draingae systems.
Our efforts to get a comment from the factory management became futile after our phone calls went unanswered.