PUBLISHED ON November 25th, 2014

Uhuru to launch Lapsset construction

President Uhuru Kenyatta will next week launch the construction of the first three berths at the proposed Sh2 trillion Lamu port, an official of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has said.

But the President’s visit is threatened by pending demands by local land owners for compensation after they moved out to pave way for the project.

The aggrieved land owners have threatened to stop the President’s planned visit in court if they are not paid for their land.

KPA’s General Manager in-charge of engineering services Joseph Atonga said the President will on Tuesday inspect the port police station and the administration block, which have been completed, then launch the construction of the three berths.

Mr Atonga made the remarks yesterday in Lamu after touring the port site, adding that the contractor, China Communication and Construction Company is already on site with all the machinery, and is currently undertaking a site preparation for the ground breaking ceremony.

This emerged as land owners were yesterday locked in a closed door meeting with their lawyers, and were contemplating stopping the exercise until they are fully compensated.

Former President Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru had earlier cancelled planned ground breaking events following protest from the locals.


Atonga hinted that there were plans to compensate the land owners before the President’s visit.

He also said authorities do not want an embarrassment like the one witnessed in August this year when the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Chairman Francis Muthaura visited the port site.

Muthaura and his team were left stranded for hours prompting the intervention of local leaders to calm the protesters and allow the entourage access the port.

“We have been having issues with the compensation since there are three lists one from the governor, one from the Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu and the original list. But we are consulting with everyone so we complete the compensation exercise before the ground breaking ceremony,” said Atonga.

Despite the assurance from the engineers, land owners, who have since learned of the President’s visit had a closed-door meeting with a team of lawyers from Wakahiu and Company advocates in Lamu.

Speaking to The Standard on phone, Mr Wakahiu said the land owners were frustrated by the Government’s failure to honour its pledge.

“As we speak now, we have prepared all suits, which we intend to take to the High Court for orders to stop any construction work until land owners are fully compensated,” he warned.

Source: Standard Digital

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