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Residents laud government’s move to stop Dongo Kundu land compensation

Residents of Dongo Kundu have welcomed the government move to halt Sh1.4billion compensation to establish genuine Project Affected Persons (PAPs).

Three weeks ago in Mombasa, the Head of State directed that the compensation be stopped for the PAPs list to be audited to weed out non-residents from the list of 1759 beneficiaries.

In October, the Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Lands chaired by Joash Nyamoko tabled its enquiry report into the compensation of Mombasa Special Economic Zone – Dongo Kundu Project Affected Persons.

Among the recommendations was that the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) should not disburse from the total compensation sum of Sh1, 446,715,160 any money to compensate persons who were not in physical occupation of land and had not made any developments on the land by either farming or constructing a house and who made claims to tracts of lands and therefore, were classified as squatters for purpose of compensation.

The residents from Dongo Kundu, Mbuta, Mwangala, Mrongondoni, Kaya Mtongwe, and Siji villages lauded the Head of State for timely intervention.

The compensation was marred with controversies and allegations of corruption, most of the residents were on the verge of being deprived of their rightful compensation by rogue officials working in cahoots with land grabbers.

A section of the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with houses, the residents are waiting for compensation to pave the way for the establishment of factories.

“We have seen what the President envisioned in the Bottom Up manifesto because an ordinary citizen can also be listened to, we are elated by the Bottom-Up approach to this matter. We were disfranchised,” said Bernard Sivai, a resident.

Sivai reveals that the problem started when rogue officials were allocating out lands to non-residents of Dongo Kundu for compensation to the chagrin of genuine residents.

He added officials who presided over the mess should be removed from the land compensation and a new just team to be reconstituted.

A spot check by KNA shows the residents’ houses falling as they cannot carry out repairs paving the way for the establishment of the Dongo Kundu SEZ.

“We have been delayed, but since the President has intervened justice will be done,” said Sivai.

Juma Mwalawa calls on the government to increase the resettlement land from 50 by 100 metres to at least four acres. He said some residents were awarded little compensation in comparison to their houses and land size.

“The exercise should be streamlined. A person with over five acres of land but is compensated with a 50 by 100 metre land and has a permanent house but finally gets an award of Sh300, 000 or Sh400, 000 which cannot help someone in this harsh economic time,” appealed another resident Philip Nzioka

On her part, Lilian Nabwire decried that the whole process was well orchestrated to benefit land cartels and their cronies. She wants the awards and lands that were allocated to non-residents to be given to residents.

By Sadik Hassan

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