Lamu families to get Lapsset compensation before month's end

Construction of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor's port headquarters at Kililana village in Lamu County started in 2012. PHOTO | GIDEON MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

About 146 families displaced by the construction of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor will be compensated before the end of this month.

Lapsset chairman Francis Muthaura, during a visit to the Lamu Port site at Kililana on Wednesday, promised to ensure that all the affected families are compensated before the ground-breaking ceremony by President Uhuru Kenyatta next month.

President Kenyatta is expected to visit Lamu to officially launch the construction of the first three berths of the project that will cost the national government Sh42 billion.

Addressing the Lapsset board and Lamu leaders during a meeting at the Kenya Ports Authority offices in Lamu, Mr Muthaura said his aim is to ensure all genuine families whose land was taken away for the massive project are compensated as soon as possible.

“We want to ensure that there is no interruption once the port construction begins. We will compensate all affected families before we start any construction work,” Mr Muthaura said.

“I want us to have settled issues with the locals before any construction work begin. I know the President is coming to launch the construction of the first three berths in September. Let me therefore assure you that all the affected people will be paid their compensation in the next few days and not weeks,” he added.


Mr Muthaura was earlier greeted with demonstrations at the Kililana site by more than 100 families who were demanding compensation for their land.

The families, mostly from the Kililana and Mashunduani areas, blocked the Hindi-Kililana road for almost an hour as they chanted slogans demanding to know when they would be paid.

Kililana Farmers Association chairperson Ali Obbo, who was leading the group, said the government had always been “lying’’ to them about the compensation.

They also protested against the list of victims to be compensated, saying it was changed by the county government in order to suit the interests of certain leaders.

They demanded that the payment be based on the first list comprising of 146 families and not the "controversial" list from the county government that is said to contain only 62 families.

They swore not to allow any construction activities at the site before compensation is concluded.

“It is the third year since the government took our land. We are tired of empty promises. The government promised to pay us, but nothing has so far been done. We need to be compensated urgently,” said Mr Obbo.