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Lamu Leaders Plan to Disrupt Port Launch

Lamu leaders have threatened to disrupt the launch of the Lamu Port on grounds that the grievances of Lamu residents set to be affected by the Vision 2030 initiative have not been adequately addressed.

Speaking at Lamu Fort in Amu Island Saturday, Lamu East MP Athman Shariff who was flanked by other local leaders, stated that the compensation status of Kwasasi farmers, fishermen and Kililana Phase 2 land owners had not been resolved despite the Lamu Port project moving full steam ahead with plans to complete the second and third berth in 2020.

“As things stand the fate of the fishermen compensation is unknown, Kwasasi farmers and Kilana land owners do not know whether they will get their compensation with claims that Lapsset already has a single title deed for the land in question despite it being ancestral land,” Shariff stated.

The Lamu East legislator further poured cold water on the LAPSSET’s scholarship programme which was supposed to support 1,000 youths with university and advanced diploma courses with scholarship placements stating that only 400 youths have benefitted from the programme.

“Even those who have benefited from the project have yet to get their degree certificates because of school fees arrears, that LAPSSET has failed to pay up for these youths to get the jobs they were promised,” he stated, adding that more than 60 percent of those youths under the programme had been affected.

He further noted that with less than 400 youths benefitting from the project residents are likely to be short-changed once the project takes off.

“The President needs to be made aware over the Lamu people’s sentiments that we feel marginalized in terms of opportunities especially by the LAPSSET Corridor Authority,” he said.

“Even within the LAPSSET Corridor Authority Board there is no one from Lamu who has been appointed despite there being professionals who can represent Lamu on the Board to raise these grievances,” Shariff added.

The MP warned that unless the President addresses the grievances raised by Lamu residents over the Lamu Port residents would take to the streets.

Lamu County Assembly Majority Leader Aboud Babad Bwana said that locals were afraid that they are being taken for granted by LCDA, adding that Kasuku has been non-committal about resolving the issues raised.

“There are a lot of pending issues with regards to compensation, job creation and scholarships that LCDA have failed to resolve and unless the President allays our fears, there will be no launch of the Lamu Port next month,” Babad said.The President is expected to launch the Lamu Port next month 2019.

Mkomani Ward MCA Yahya “Basode” Ahmed also lamented that the national government had turned its back on the grievances of Lamu residents, whom he said get a small pie of the national cake yet hold the largest regional project.

“We would like to have an audience with the President for our grievances to be resolved amicably failure to which we are a likely to have a Mombasa-SGR-similar scenario in Lamu with the residents feeling disenfranchised over the government project,” Basode said.

On his part, Lamu County Commissioner Macharia Irungu speaking when he met local leaders stated that the national government was aware of the grievances raised and would seek a resolution for the same.

He acknowledged that the leaders and residents had a right to picket and express their grievances, but expressed optimism that a resolution would be found before the launch date.

“The national government appreciates the sentiments raised and a resolution will be reached to ensure the county and national government benefit from the LAPSSET project,” Macharia said.

 By Amenya Ochieng

 

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