Owners demand compensation for land acquired for wind project in Lamu

The land owners seeking compensation in Lamu during a past meeting./FILE

Lamu, KENYA: Farmers whose lands have been acquired for the establishment of the Sh.21 Billion wind power plant at Baharini area in Mpeketoni have voiced their concern and disappointment over delayed compensation for the lands.

They were to be paid before the project was implemented.

The more than 600 landowners said they have waited for the past two years for the compensation money which has not been forthcoming as the investors continue to take them in circles.

The landowners had to move out of their lands once they were told that they had been earmarked for the project and were depending on the compensation money to help them acquire alternative settlements.

Speaking on Tuesday, their spokesperson Linus Gachoki said its unfair that investor insists that they will only be compensated upon the implementation of the project since the investor isn’t showing signs of being in a hurry to do the same.

A total of 3,206 acres of land have been acquired for the wind power project which is anticipated to produce 90 megawatts of electricity upon completion.

The project is being undertaken by the Baharini Wind Power Project, a consortium of a Belgian and Kenyan firm Kenwind Holdings Limited Company.

The Sh 21 billion Wind Power project plan includes 38 turbines with a 90MW capacity to be constructed within the 3,206 acre land which is located about 20km from the new Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project at Kililana.

The landowners said in as much as they had voluntarily given out their lands for the project, they would not hesitate to ask the investor to give them back their lands if they fail to compensate them by mid-year.

We gave out our lands voluntarily but it seems we shall have to sweat before anyone pays a dime for compensation.We don’t have time or strength for that.We have waited for over two years and we cant do that anymore.They can as well give us back our lands so we can go on with life.We need the compensation so we can buy alternative lands and settle,” said Gichohi.

The investing company had also promised to set up a Sh.40 Million trust fund in support of the needy and less fortunate in the county but the landowners said they are now convinced that was just a coercion to have them give out their lands and will never get to happen.

Samuel Kamande, one of the affected landowners said it was surprising that the compensation was taking forever yet all procedures and logistics including the land review and assessment had already been undertaken and approved.