Plans to embark on the construction of the sh.35 billion Arror Multi Purpose Dam have been thrown into disarray after residents of Kipsaiya location declined to accept a gazette notice issued by the National Land Commission (NLC).
The NLC officials have been camping in the area for the past one week to issue the notice to residents of Kipsaiya, Chesoi and Maina to rectify any errors in terms of misspelt names, land registration numbers or acreage among others.
According to Peter Kaunda, a Land Valuer with NLC, after issuing the notice, NLC would have proceeded to conduct a valuation exercise on any development on the land for compensation after residents agreed to be given land for land.
However all this has hit a snag after residents during a meeting at Kipsaiya cheif’s office demanded to be given land before any other exercise can be carried out.
According to their Chairman Samuel Mwale, while the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) which is implementing the project had shown the committee the land they intended to resettle them in, it was yet to purchase the same.
“KVDA should have started by purchasing the 11 plots they have shown us in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia counties before continuing with the valuation exercise,” Mwale said.
The women were even more categorical, saying to them land was key because men may get the money and disappear leaving them suffering with the children.
“We have had cases where men take off after getting money leaving their families destitute, we don’t want that to happen to us and that is why we are demanding land,” said Mary Rotich.
The Secretary to the residents committee, Robert Maiyo said there were other challenges they wanted addressed citing the issue of sub division of land, saying most of them especially the youth don’t have title deeds as the land is still held by family patriarchs.
“We are therefore calling on KVDA to ensure that the land is surveyed and sub divided so that each of the beneficiaries gets their share once we are relocated,” Maiyo said.
The residents also had an issue on the valuation to be carried out by NLC, saying they want an earlier valuation commissioned by KVDA and undertaken by a private valuer to be used.
However, Kaunda informed them that according to the law, compensation by the government can only be paid based on the valuation by NLC.
“The valuation by the private valuer was only meant for budgeting purposes to give an estimate of how much is required for compensation,” he said.
This comes even as the government released sh.900 million out of the sh. 6.8 billion for compensation to residents in the critical areas where the dams, camp and industrial site will be constructed.
People leaving in these areas according to KVDA Managing Director, David Kimosop will be the first to be relocated in the exercise which is expected to be done in phases.
By Alice Wanjiru