Lamu, KENYA: Lamu governor Issa Timamy and women rep Shakilla Abdalla want the national government to compensate all fishermen affected by the new Lamu port-LAPSSET.
Over 7000 fishermen have been affected by ongoing dredging activities inside the Indian Ocean to pave way for the construction of the first three berths at the port which will be situated inside the ocean.
As a result, fishing channels have either been closed off or interfered with due to the dredging rendering thousands of fishermen in Lamu without a lifeline.
The only remaining option is for the fishermen to move further deeper and conduct their trade on high seas but since they don’t have the equipment that can sustain such kind of fishing,many have been left wallowing in poverty after they were displaced from their usual fishing channels.
The Mkanda channel which is most relied upon by fishermen is worst affected since most opf the dredging takes place there.
The LAPSSET authority had earlier pledged to have all affected fishermen compensated.
However, addressing fishermen who met him at Milano area on Sunday,Timamy said there was need for the government to speed up compensation for the fishermen many of whom he said are leading miserable lives since the trade was closed down due to the dredging activities.
Timamy said the government also had a mandate to ensure the affected fishermen are shown alternative fishing grounds and also equipped with modern tools and equipment that can enable them fish on the deep seas without risking their lives.
He said on its its part the county government was doing all it could to support the fishermen including issuing them with modern day machinery to ply their trade with.
“Our stand as the county government is that the government must compensate all these fishermen who have lost their only lifeline due to the dredging caused by the LAPSSET.The port is a good thing but lets ensure no one is left crying foul due to it.They said they would pay them but up to now no one is saying anything and the fishermen are asking questions,”said Timamy.
Lamu women rep Shakilla Abdalla questioned why the government was yet to release the Resettlement Action Plan-RAP which she said would have enabled the government and LAPSSET deal with any arising issues concerning the project.
She said the RAP is supposed to highlight the effects of the project to the fisher folk and recommendations on how to ensure either side is fulfilled.
She called for the speedy release of the RAP and asked the government to ensure all those affected in any way by the LAPSSET are dully compensated.
The fishermen have threaten to head to court to stop the progress of the LAPSSET until they are compensated.