The Kenya Government Tuesday refuted reports in a sectio n of the media that controversy had emerged regarding the landing of the fibre o p tic cable, saying the landing of the East African Marine System (TEAMS) cable wa s right on course and that the launch ceremony will hold Friday.
Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said “This is in deed a clear indication of the endorsement of the fibre optic by the government a nd its agencies are working together to oversee the success of the project.”
Since inception, Ndemo added, the process has been carried out transparently and with due observance of all legal parameters, including environmental, cultural a nd national heritage considerations.
“It is therefore unfortunate that a credible media house would want to create th e impression that this important national project is flawed,” he lamented.
It had been reported that the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) had earlier demand ed that all construction work at the landing point, in Fort Jesus, Mombasa, be s t opped, putting TEAMS on the spotlight on its failure to carry out a mandatory la n d Environmental Impact Assessment.
Fort Jesus, a fort used by Portuguese seafarers, to protect Kenya’s historical p ort city of Mombasa in the 16th century, is a national heritage that falls under
National Museums of Kenya.
Ndemo asserted that Telkom Kenya, one of the 19 stakeholders in the project, had undertaken the assessment.
Contrary to the reports, the museum’s Director General, Idle Omar Farah, articul ated that a maritime survey done by NMK assisted TEAMS in re-routing the landing , after it was discovered that a Portuguese ship wreck that had sunk in 1678, was
still laying on the cable’s proposed route.
“The Terrestrial (Archaeological) survey which has recently been finalised is to assist in routing the cable on land so as to avoid the historical sites associa t ed with the Fort Jesus Museum,” he said.
Farah said TEAMS had already fulfilled all the required conditions, even those d emanded by the National Environmental Management Board (NEMA) and that NMK had a l ready instructed it to proceed with the project.
According to him, “the NMK is in cognisance of the national importance of the un derwater fibre optic sea cable to the development and growth of telecommunicatio n in Kenya. We will however, advise from time to time, it’s impact on the cultura l heritage resources in the country.”
The cable, which is expected to accelerate the country’s economic growth through offering easy Internet access services, was expected to land in Mombasa this we e k.