Over 20 households affected by the Eldoret Southern bypass project in Uasin Gishu County are yet to be compensated.
Speaking to the press in Eldoret, representatives from the 24 households in Simat area claimed the National Land Commission owed them more than Sh 30 million.
Gilbert Rotich whose family land is listed 322 in the Persons Affected by Projects (PAPs) list, claimed his family has not been paid a single cent since they got an offer for the land and developments 10 years ago.
“From all indications, it looks like the government plans to move us out of our land forcefully yet we have not been paid,” he claimed.
“They want to use force to continue with their project and yet they have not paid us our money, the value of land in Simat has since shot up to about Sh 5M yet the award we were offered is very low,” he added.
They also said that the land has remained idle for long now since there is no development allowed along the corridor yet they solely depend on farming to eke a living.
Rotich said as residents they opted to block any construction of the road project on the sections of their land by preventing bulldozers from stripping the land until they are fully compensated.
Judith Jepkemei, a mother of one said she is landless after giving out her piece of land for the construction of the bypass.
She said she was approached by the government to allow the project to proceed through her piece of land with assurance she would be paid, but since 2018 she is yet to receive any payment.
“I am now landless and forced to rent a place to stay with my child because I trusted the government and allowed the project to progress,” she lamented.
Philip Kimutai complained that other families in Kaptinga who allowed the project to pass their land on the promise they will be compensated have not received their pay.
“Between 2014 and 2015 when the government approached us for the Eldoret Southern Bypass project, all affected PAPs were awarded offers for compensation, unfortunately, NLC resorted to paying discriminatingly, one household is paid yet the neighbor is left out. From 2018 they started approaching household individually in a divide and rule tactic and intimidation,” claims Kimutai
He said they were giving the government 21 days to deal with the issue failure to which they will consult with their lawyers with a view to moving to court to have the project put on hold until they are compensated.
Their efforts to meet with the County Commissioner Stephen Kihara did not materialize as the CC was held up in a security meeting.
In a recent visit to the project, the County Development and Implementation Coordination Committee was informed that all the PAPs had been paid and those not yet compensated had issues with their land documentation or have complaints about evaluation.
PAPs with evaluation issue, or claims of underpayment were advised to launch complaints with the NLC where the issues will be addressed.
By Kiptanui Cherono