Lamu land owners demand truth on viability of coal project

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

lamu, KENYA: Lamu residents whose lands have been acquired for the establishment of the controversial sh.200 billion coal plant in Hindi, Lamu West are now asking the government and the investor to come clean and explain whether or not the project is viable.

Over 975 acres of land have already been earmarked for the coal project which is being undertaken by the Amu Power Company, a consortium of Gulf Energy and Centum Investment.

Speaking when they congregated in Lamu town on Monday, the land owners demanded to know when they will get compensated for their lands.

An earlier review by the National Lands Commission-NLC had revealed that each land owner would get sh.800,000 per acre.

Their spokesperson Abdulrahman Aboud faulted the national government for not being forthcoming with information regarding their compensation while the investor continued taking them in circles for the last three years.

“Some of us have no alternative lands and so when we were told that our lands had been earmarked for the project we just moved and rented homes. They said compensation would follow soon after but now it’s been three years and counting. Our lives are stalled because of this,”  said Aboud.

Mohamed Omar who gave up his entire 20 acre ancestral land says he regrets doing so.

“The land included my home, my farm and every single development I had done on it. They made it look like we would be compensated the following month. I need my land back. My family is suffering.I cant continue paying rent and begging relatives to accommodate me yet I have my own land,” said Omar.

They are now threatening to head to court and demand for compensation for time wasted while waiting for ‘actual compensation’.