Kwale, KENYA: Resident of Kinango sub-county where a proposed Mwache dam will be built wants the project stopped.
The landowners claim that National Land Commission has short-changed them on a compensation package.
Hundreds of residents in areas of Fulugani, Rombo, Mpirani, Bokole, Mwache, Mwashanga, Pemba, and Chinguluni are affected by the construction of the Dam.
Locals who spoke to Baraka FM accused NLC of forcing them to accept a compensation package of between Sh.250, 000 to Sh.350, 000 per acre.
Mwache dam project is being co-funded by the World Bank and the Government of Kenya to the tune of Sh 20bn. The dam site is located across the Mwache River at the Fulugani village, Kwale County, about 22 km west of the city of Mombasa.
Coast Water Supply Master Plan identified the dam as the preferential, viable, and necessary long-term option for water supply to Mombasa and Kwale counties.
Residents have accused the NLC of failing to meet them and solve the dispute before relocating and instead accused them of using threatens against them.
Kwale County women representative Zulekha Hassan has condemned local leaders for remaining silent on the matter.
“It’s very unfortunate that Mwache Dam construction was made to benefit the locals but it has turned out to destroy their lives,” she stated.
According to Zulekha, the compensation package given to the landowners was insufficient, and that NLC should consider the package before relocating the victims.
“Currently a hectare of land is purchased at Sh.800, 000 why should then the government compensate victims with a package that cannot purchase a new place for settlement” said Zulekha.
Zulekha said that she has written to EACC to investigate the Mwache Dam land compensation.
The dam is meant to harness floodwaters from Mwache River basin in Kinango Sub County and help tackle persistent water shortages in the coastal region. The Mwache Dam will be an 87.5 meter-tall concrete gravity dyke, impounding 118 million cubic meters for water supply and irrigation and is expected to boost the water supply for Kwale and Mombasa counties.
The massive dam when complete is also expected to put 2,600 hectares of land under irrigation in Kwale County.