13 April 2018

Kenya: Farmers Seek Payout for Sh200 Billion Lamu Coal Plant Land

Farmers whose land have been earmarked for establishment of the Sh200 billion coal fired power plant in Lamu on Thursday protested over delay in payment of compensation.

They said the delay has attracted grabbers who are eyeing their land.

Led by their spokesperson, Mr Hussein Kombo, the farmers urged the government to speed up the pay-out.

"The delay is worrying. We have waited too long for compensation. Some grabbers are taking advantage of this delay and want to take away our land. We have information that some tycoons are also planning to grab our land. The government should compensate us so that we move on with life," said Mr Kombo.

OWNERSHIP

They said grabbers plan to switch ownership of the land so that they are compensated instead of the genuine owners.

"We don't know what the government will do to ensure only those who really own land here are compensated. They have taken too long and grabbers have seen a chance to enrich themselves. Even as the government plans to pay us, it must find a way to address ghost claimants who are bound to arise," said Kwasasi village elder Joseph Yeri.

Mrs Fatma Hamisi said they fully support the coal plant project as it will be a mega economic investment for Lamu County. She called for speedy establishment of the project, adding that it should employ local youths.

THREATS

The farmers claimed to have received threats of eviction from grabbers who are claiming ownership of their land.

The Lamu coal plant project is being undertaken by Amu Power Company, a consortium of Gulf Energy and Centum Investments.

Some 975 acres of land have been set aside at Kwasasi area in Hindi Division for the project, which is expected to generate 1,050 megawatts of power upon completion.

The National Lands Commission in 2016 identified 542 genuine land owners who are supposed to be compensated. But despite surveys, identification and verification of owners more than a year ago, not a single farmer has received compensation.

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