Sand Harvesters Sue Homa Bay County

Kisii based Sand dealers and their Nyamira counterparts have sued to force a suspension of the new levies imposed on the commodity by Homa Bay county authorities.

In a case filed Friday at the High Court in Homa Bay under a certificate of urgency,  the traders want the county to revise the tax rates downwards to sustain their business. 

The orders were sought by the traders through Dominic Mariga. 

The dealers, in the court papers, say they are already hurting and may be forced out of business because of the new tax regime. 

We thus seek the County Executives to be restrained by the Court to stop collecting the new taxes until this matter is heard and determined,” the traders said. 

The dealers have been crossing to Homa Bay to harvest sand for sale to builders in Kisii, Nyamira, Jericho and Transmara. 

Homa Bay had scaled up the levies imposed on the commodity in this fiscal year’s Finance Bill 2020. 

The dealers are now required to pay between Sh1,000 and Sh2,000 which they consider punitive. This is despite a hard time during this pandemic times.

 A five-tonne truck haulage, for instance, will cost Sh1,000 while a 10-tonnne truck will cost the dealer Sh2,000. 

The hike in taxes means that even the costs of putting up houses and structures will also go up according to Mariga.

Already, the cost of transporting raw materials is on the highest side because of the distance. Increasing taxes in such a manner means even investors in the construction industry will have to dig more into pockets in an already a hurting economy,” they said. 

The court is due to give direction on the matter. 

Deep trenches and gullies left behind by sand harvesters in Modi village in Nyatike sub-county. Photo by George Agimba

Natural calamities as stated by scientists and environmentalists are beyond human control as opposed to mistakes made by human beings that trigger environmental crises such as floods, landslides, land barrenness and gaping gullies.

In the case of Nyatike Sub-County, where the current floods have displaced over 500 people following the ongoing torrential rains, both the rage of nature and man-made activities are to blame for what the people are currently going through.

The sweeping floods since April-this year have flattened homes, destroyed crops, battered roads and killed unknown number of livestock in a fatal rage that has left residents counting losses amounting to millions of shillings.

Subsequently, serious hunger is looming large in the area and sooner or later the state may be forced to engage in a massive programme to feed the masses unless the situation is addressed in advance.

Last month, Environmentalist, Joseph Onyango said this while explaining human being’s mistake number one.

“Some of the people now crying of being displaced by flood waters in Nyatike are to blame for encroaching onto the land that formerly was occupied by L. Victoria before it receded backwards due to environmental changes that reduced its levels of water,” explained Onyango.

People moved into the Lake’s riparian and built structures at the time the lake receded its boundaries. Now that it is receiving sufficient waters, the lake is now moving forward and with the ferocity it has, many people have to be affected all around it, until the rains subside,” said a retired weather expert John Nyongesa at a recent press interview in Migori town.

Speaking at Macalder town recently, Mbaga regretted the heavy destruction that Gold and Sand harvesting was causing in the area on farmlands and even on human settlement lands.

Reckless people here are destroying even their homes by harvesting sand up to and within their compounds, living gaping holes that are dangerous to their lives,” rued Mbaga when we sought for his comment on the man-made environmental crises in the area.

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