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1. Samson Lereya; 2. Ngamia Lemeiguran; 3. Joel Ole Saaya; 4. Shaolin Leriche Meiguran; 5. Clement Nashuru (Plaintiffs) versus The Honorable Attorney General (1st Defendant); The Minister for Environment and Natural Resources (2nd Defendant); National Environment Management Authority (3rd Defendant)
Type of document:
National - higher court
Date of text:
July 11, 2006
Data source:
Court name:
High Court of Kenya at Nairobi
Aluoch, J.
Kubo, B., P.
Mugo, M.
Reference number:
Civil suit 115 of 2006
ECOLEX subject(s):
Wild species & ecosystems
Legal questions
The central prayer of this suit was the eradication of a weed called Prosopis Juliflora, which was said to be invasive, from a part of Baringo District in Rift Valley Province. The defendants objected to the suit, among others, on the ground that the suit was filed over twenty years after the Government of Kenya had introduced the weed. Therefore, the suit was time-barred. The counter-argument made by the plaintiffs was that the environmental harm subject matter of the suit was ongoing. It continued to spread at alarming rate, had completely overgrown the entire landscape and continued to decimate natural biodiversity in the affected areas. The court analyzed the statements of the defendants and concluded that they conceded that the weed in question was invasive and its effect on the environment was continuing. Under these circumstances the objection by the defendants was dismissed. Furthermore, the defendants contended that the plaintiffs lacked locus standi. The Court held that the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (ECMA) conferred the right to a clean and healthy environment to every person in Kenya. According to ECMA a person that alleged that this entitlement was likely to be contravened in relation to him had the capacity to bring action notwithstanding that this person could not show that the defendant’s act was likely to cause him any personal loss or injury, provided that such action was not frivolous or an abuse of the court process. As there was no plea regarding frivolous or abusive action, the court held that the plaintiffs had locus standi. However, the court held that the plaintiffs failed to serve a mandatory notice on the Government, which was fatal to any proceedings against the Government. Therefore, the suit could not stand against the 1st and 2nd defendant.