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Landowners petition gov’t over delayed compensation

Over 100 residents of Buvori Location in Nginda Ward of Embu County who surrendered land for construction of the 63-km Ring road have petitioned the government to fast track their compensation.

The affected landowners said it has been an agonizing wait for compensation amounting to Sh73 million that has not been forthcoming since 2018 when the road was constructed with a promise that they were to be compensated the same year.

The Sh3.1billion road stretches from Embu Level Five Hospital in Embu North Sub-county through Kianjokoma in Embu West to Siakago in Mbeere North.

Speaking on Monday at Buvori Shopping Center during a meeting with KeRRA officials and Manyatta MP Gitonga Mukunji, the irate locals said they feel cheated after agreeing to cede parts of their farms for the project yet they have not been compensated four years down the line.

A resident James Mucangi said many of them lost their livelihoods through damage of portions of their tea and coffee bushes they rely on as the primary source of income alongside others such as macadamia and avocado trees as well as food crops.

“Personally I lost three quarters of an acre that had tea bushes which I had used to secure a Sacco loan that I am still struggling to repay to date owing to the loss,” he said.

He said some of them have had their properties such as livestock and household items auctioned by lenders to offset                                                                                                                                                        outstanding loans and in the process worsening their miseries.

The residents wondered why they were not paid yet the contractor undertaking the works was paid and faulted the government for being insensitive to their plight.

They said KeRRA has been taking them in circles with their unkempt promises and called on the President Ruto-led administration to speedily take up the matter and have them compensated accordingly.

“Some of our children who are school leavers are still at home since their parents cannot afford to enroll them in colleges to further their education owing to the losses suffered as a result of the road construction,” farmer Moses Njeru said.

MP Mukunji promised to take up the matter with the relevant offices to ensure “justice” is served to them.

“There’s nothing more unfair than to take someone’s source of income and then you don’t compensate them and even more painful for them to see the road they lost their land to in use while they are still waiting to be paid,” he said.

KeRRA said they have had a challenge with pending bills and that is why they have not been able to settle their dues, adding that the contractor was also yet to be paid in full.

By Samuel Waititu

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