The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has organized a two-day training exercise for clerks who will be collecting, verifying, and validating signatures and bank accounts of 4,734 fisher folk ahead of their compensation for lost fishing grounds following the construction of the Port of Lamu.
The training facilitated by KPA aims to equip the clerks with the necessary skills to ensure a smooth compensation process for fisher folks as reparation for damaging their livelihoods.
KPA Board Chairman Benjamin Tayari is set to launch the exercise this week with the clerks proceeding to the field soon after.
Tayari said all pending issues that had occasioned the delay in the release of the cash had been cleared and added that individual fishermen will soon be receiving their dues.
“As a clerk it is your responsibility to always ensure that you have the validated list of the fishermen and the agreements for the area you have been allocated,” said KPA’s Principal Legal Officer Stephen Kyandih.
He said during the exercise, deliberate efforts would be made to ensure each individual fisher folk is physically reached to append their signature to the agreement.
“In cases where the fisher folk is indisposed and is unable to physically come to the designated venue to sign the agreement, the appointed officials and clerks will make arrangements to reach the person physically for the signature,” he added.
The compensation committee co-chair and KPA’s Corporate Communication Manager Bernard Osero thanked the fishermen for their patience and urged the clerks to be thorough and accurate during the verification process.
He said the compensation exercise is being implemented pursuant to the court order issued in Nairobi Civil Appeal no.230 of 2018 issued of December 5, 2022.
The sentiments were echoed by Lamu County Beach Management Unit (BMU) Chairman Somo Somo and Save Lamu Chair Mohamed Athman, both of whom assured KPA of their support for the successful conclusion of the exercise.
Somo expressed his satisfaction following the resolution of the matter after a long legal tussle.
The fishermen were awarded by the court Sh1.76 billion compensation after they demonstrated they would no longer be able to undertake fishing due to dredging activities at the Port of Lamu.
The fishermen will receive 65 per cent direct cash compensation with 35 per cent remainder set aside for sustainability of Lamu County fishing activities.
By Mohamed Hassan