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Call for compensation of land owners in multi-billion mega project

A motion on compensation of land owners targeted for relocation to pave way for construction of Sh425 billion Kibuga dam project along Tana River has been tabled at Kitui county assembly.

The motion tabled by Tharaka ward MCA Godfrey Ndagara is seeking to have the targeted residents in Tharaka Nithi and Kitui counties compensated before surrendering their land for the project.

The motion further calls for review of land compensation rates set several years ago, in respect to current market prices.

“The Kibuga dam is one of vision 2030 flagship projects and it was earmarked and planned in the year 2009, with the plan for compensation of land owners set in respect to land market prices of that year. However, the land value and market prices have changed upwards and needs to be adjusted to current rates,” reads the motion.

he motion was supported by more than 75 percent of the MCAs in attendance during the session.

It also requests the government to consider upgrading of access roads heading to, as well those within the earmarked dam construction site so as to improve road network for easy access to the construction site.

The motion further calls for public participation forums to be organized, especially for the affected land owners, in the presence of the local leadership.

Construction of the dam will be funded by the UK government and is set to kick off in the year 2024 and the leaders want the compensation logistics done ahead to avoid delays normally caused by compensation complications.

The dam project is a development agreement package between Kenyan president William Ruto and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, reached during a recent meeting on climate change dubbed COP27 held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.

The project, aimed at mitigating climate change is set to supply water for irrigation of 400,000 hectares of land and generate of 1,000 Mega Watts of electricity

The compensation motion is being deliberated on in the wake of delayed compensation of up to Sh2.9 billion yet to be paid to land owners who were relocated to pave way for the construction of the completed Kibwezi – Kitui – Kabati – Tulia road.

The land owners have been staging street demonstrations in Kitui town protesting the failure by the government to release funds for their compensation.

By Denson Mututo

 

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