Kenya coal updates: May 2020

Activities and developments


A good update on the status quo is available as a recorded video webinar. As part of the Africa Vuka campaign, 350 and deCOALonize hosted a campaign and community updates webinar on 28 May, featuring Daniel Muoti from CHRCE (Kitui) and Raya Famau from Save Lamu.

CHRCE (Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education) in Kitui

In March, CHRCE held a media and communications workshop with deCOALonize. Since then, CHRCE’s formal activities have since been disrupted due to Covid-19 stay-at-home orders and limited connectivity between its dispersed staff. Plans are on hold for a clergy sensitisation meeting, development of county and national policy visions, facilitation of community views and propositions on the Africa Mining Vision, and raising awareness of the Community Land Act and land registration process. Despite these challenges, CHRCE has plans to mobilize for Covid-19 response, as detailed above. CHRCE provided a detailed update as part of the Africa Vuka webinar on 28 May as noted above.

Save Lamu

Since mid-March, when the first cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in Kenya, Save Lamu has largely focused on Covid-19 preparation and prevention, and assistance for the community, including information campaigns, hand-washing facilities, health care packages, mask production and distribution, donation collection and food distribution, and community morale and appreciation for frontline healthcare workers, while keeping focus on protecting Lamu’s natural ecosystem as well. As of mid-May, there are no diagnosed and confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Lamu.

deCOALonize coalition

After taking time for paperwork, reporting, and strategy development (including taking stock of 2019 progress), the deCOALonize coalition held monthly partner calls in February, March, and April. The communications and lobbying working groups held periodic calls and shared revised strategies. In January, the staff reviewed 17 members’ commitment forms, and were to check in with each member to discuss involvement, particularly members that have not been active and joining calls.

Natural Justice

Coal-related legal cases are stalled, and courts are largely not sitting due to Covid-19. Natural Justice is preparing a summary of the NET judgment for easier public consumption. NJ has shifted its internal work to focus on development of training materials and toolkits for future use to enhance community understanding. NJ is also seeking ways to support community organisations that have difficulty in operating due to Covid-19 and consequent restrictions, as well as to assist Kenyans in access to justice in the face of Covid-19 police brutality and heavy-handed tactics, arrests, and unsafe detention.

International efforts

UNESCO: World Heritage Watch will launch on 5 June its comprehensive report, and submit it to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, though the Committee has indefinitely postponed its preparatory report deadlines and June-July Session, at which it was to discuss draft decisions. Save Lamu’s report on Lamu Old Town emphasised the ongoing harm and threat of much greater harm caused by LAPSSET project construction in Lamu (link coming soon).

Media coverage of Kenya coal issues

Overall, national media coverage in 2020 has included reporting in January and several anti-coal editorials and opinion pieces February to April. International coverage has coincided with broad global campaigns such as on GE and Chinese financiers. Details below.

Relevant international news

In April, news came that the Hamrawein mega coal plant in Egypt (15 times the size of the Lamu project) has been indefinitely postponed. South African’s Business Live reported, “The news out of Egypt follows increasing problems encountered by the Chinese-funded Lamu coal power proposal in Kenya.” IEEFA noted, “The Hamrawein proposal appears to have been shelved because Egypt now has sufficient power capacity and the construction of such a huge plant would exceed growth requirements.” Lamu coal plant project faces a similar reality.

Compiled research and news about ongoing attempts to develop a coal industry in Kenya. #deCOALonize


Compiled research and news about ongoing attempts to develop a coal industry in Kenya. #deCOALonize