The Star (Nairobi)

25 June 2014

Kenya: Hiccups in Lamu Port Project

THE Kenya Human Rights Commission has officially launched a position paper that seeks to interrogate community fears in regard to the LAPSSET corridor project.

The Forgotten in the Scramble and Partition of Lamu paper was launched at the Majlis Hotel, Lamu on Friday.

Commission's chairperson Atsango Chesoni said while development projects create jobs and open up remote and underpopulated areas, the host communities rarely benefit from these jobs, urbanisation and the much needed change since most often, members of the host community cannot immediately qualify for the jobs created.

"As the business opportunities created development projects attract new investors and entrepreneurs, indigenious communities engage in the new economy but from a powerless position at the bottom or are displaced by receding deeper into the periphery where their now reduced incomes can support them," said Chesoni.

Chesoni said there is need to seriously guard against development projects that create new poverty, greater impoverishment, disempowerment and invisibility amongst the very host communities that the project was intended to uplift out of poverty.

She said more often than not, the compensation paid or resettlement support offered to those displaced by a project as huge as LAPSSET is mostly inadequate to make a fresh start from an empowered position.

According to the paper, if the LAPSSET project proceeds in the same manner as is being administered, it is unlikely to reduce poverty and improve the lives of the people who were in Lamu before the project's onset and especially the indigenous Aweer and the Fisher folk community.

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