Lamu residents blame leaders silence on delayed compensation

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

Lamu,KENYA:Lamu residents whose lands were acquired for the Sh.21 Billion Wind Power project in Lamu have blamed the loud silence from area leaders as the main reason for their delayed compensation.

The project is under the Baharini Wind Power Project,a consortium of Elicio company from Belgium and Kenyan firm,Kenwind Holdings Limited and is to be established at Baharini area in Mpeketoni.

The land owners accused the leaders of harboring a tendency where they distance themselves from such projects until their hands are oiled.

Speaking at Baharini area on Tuesday,the land owners said they have been waiting for ages yet no information on their compensation has been forthcoming.

The project is expected to generate 90MW of electricity upon completion.

A total of 3,206 acres were acquired four years ago at Baharini for the establishment of the project.

Led by their spokesperson Zacharia Ng’ang’a,the land owners say they have not be able to lead productive lives ever since their lands were acquired and the fact that they haven’t been compensated hasn’t made their situation any better.

They have sent out an appeal to governor Fahim Twaha,senator Anwar Loitiptip,Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama and Women Rep Ruweida Obbo to break their silence and intervene to enable get their compensation monies.

“No one is telling us anything.Its been four years plus and still nothing.We can no longer access our lands even to farm.For four years we have been living from to mouth yet we are farmers.Even banks have openly denied us loans since our land titles show that they have been leased. We are wondering why our leaders can’t do anything.We really need that money so we can move on,”said Ng’ang’a.

The land owners expressed concern that the prolonged delay in compensation could easily pave way for smart land grabbers whom they said have perfected the art of grabbing any idle lands in the region.

Recently,the project director Susan Nandwa had hinted that they were facing frustrations from the ERC and hence the delayed compensation.

She however assured the land owners that they would be compensated as soon as the regulatory body approves the project.

“The project has been approved at all the crucial stages except the ERC which wants the project undertaken in two tranches which isn’t part of our initial agreement.Once we are over this particular phase, compensation monies will flow,”said Nandwa.