Lamu,KENYA:The national lands commission will only offer alternative land resettlement as compensation and not monetary as anticipated by those affected by construction of the Lamu-Garsen road.
Speaking on Thursday in Lamu,NLC chair Muhammad Swazuri stated that almost 90% of the land in question is vacant and they expect just a handful of individuals to be compensated or rather resettled.
He said at the moment the commission was awaiting a full report from the survey department in order to ascertain the exact number of those affected who shall then by resettled elsewhere.
“All we need to do is put final touches on the identification,verification and approval of those affected by the road expansion then we compensate.Unfortunately,we shall be doing alternative resettlement and not monetary compensation.We are just waiting for a report from the county survey office then we shall kick start the resettlement,”said Swazuri.
Several people had been forced to vacate their homes after their lands fell within the expansion plan for the road and they have been seeking compensation ever since.
The commission’s announcement comes as a relief for the affected who assumed they had been duped of their land following months of silence and uncertainty from the concerned ministry.
A week ago,vocal ex-Lamu women rep Shakilla Abdalla accused the national government of playing chase with the matter and called for speedy compensation of those affected.
Those interviewed however registered their disappointment saying they would have preferred monetary compensation as opposed to being resettled.
Luthfiya Mwayumbe of Witu said “We are used to the fact that when lands are acquired for anything here,those affected receive money as compensation and so we are very disappointed that Swazuri is talking of resettling us instead.Whats so hard in them paying us money so we can go away and buy lands in our areas of choice.Do they know what we look for in land before we settle?That makes us look like kids who don’t know what we want and it has to therefore be chosen for us.Its unfair,”said Mwakiyumbe.
The government has already allocated Sh10.4 billion to go into the expansion and construction of the road which has been in dilapidated state for decades.
The tender for the 135 kilometer road was awarded to Chinese firm Hyoung.
Construction of the road was commissioned by president Uhuru Kenyatta when he toured Witu town on March 9 last year.
However there has been very little progress of the expansion and construction ever since.
Upon completion,the Lamu-Garsen road which remains the only entry point to Lamu is expected to open up the region to more trade,economic and industry opportunities.