Lamu leaders threaten to sabotage LAPSSET project

The LAPSSET headquarters whose construction is complete, PHOTO: COURTESY.

Lamu, KENYA: Lamu leaders are threatening to sabotage the Sh.2.5 Trillion Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor project-LAPSSET if the national government refuses to heed to and act on their queries in the next seven days.

Speaking in Lamu on Wednesday, the leaders led by Lamu East MP Athman Shariff and MCAs Yahya Ahmed(Mkomani) and Fahad Dini (Faza) said they were tired of the mounting land injustices and discrimination of Lamu youth in employment at the construction phase of the port.

The leaders want the LAPSSET board and managers to come to Lamu and hold talks with locals and leaders in order to iron out any loose ends on the matter failure to which they threatened to ensure the project doesn’t proceed.

They accused the government of failing to honor the initial agreement that was to ensure Lamu residents are fully involved in the development of the project, which includes having locals employed during construction all the way to the top.

The leaders also accused the National Lands Commission-NLC of duping and frustrating residents of their lands in a bid to expand acreage for lands acquired for the LAPSSET.

They said it was unfair and unrealistic for the government to shut down concerns that include providing a way forward on compensation for fishermen who shall be locked out of their fishing zones due to activities at the LAPSSET.

“We won’t have the government frustrate our people over LAPSSET.The project is in our county and our concerns must thus be taken into account.You can’t start constructing a project like this one yet those employed are outsiders.People have had their lands secretly incorporated into the acreage for LAPSSET. And no one wants to listen.If they don’t come down and deal with us,we shall make their work very difficult and unbearable here,” said Shariff.

Mkomani MCA Yahya Ahmed pledged to launch a house to house campaign that will ensure any services to the LAPSSET by locals are completely sabotaged.

“They shouldn’t think we are asleep.We are so ready for them.We will do anything even if it means closing any possible connection between Lamu and Lapsset.We will make it very hot for them,” said Ahmed.

On his part, the chairperson of the Shungwaya Farmers Welfare Association, a civil organization,said they would soon head to court to stop any further activities at the LAPSSET site until their concerns are addressed.

Ongoing works at the first three terminals at the site are on course with the first one expected to be completed by June this year.