Many residents of Kogony and Korando in Kisumu are dejected.
Eleven years after their ancestral land was forcibly acquired for the Northern Bypass road project, they are yet to receive a coin of the Sh900 million awarded to them by the National Land Commission (NLC) to facilitate their resettlement.
As they wait, they live as squatters, prohibited from building structures, planting trees or burying their relatives on the land.
"We are under the tight watch of local administrators, who have been directed to closely monitor our activities on our land, as we have not been paid over a decade since our parcels were hived off," says 75-year-old Monica Odero, from Kogony.
She lives in a two-room, mud-walled house. Her son's house collapsed and he was barred from building another one.
"My son, whom I depended on, was forced to look for a rental house in the neighbouring area. This has strained our resources further as we don't have a steady income stream," laments Ms Odiero, who seems to have resigned to fate.
"Looking at the millions of shillings written on this award letter, it pains me when I cannot even afford to raise money to feed myself.”
Ms Odero hopes to own a place where she can, like before, freely live with her family and grandchildren without restrictions on what she can do on her land.
But the story of her neighbour, Shem Akello, is one that residents would wish to forget.
"I was compelled to bury my son metres away from my house as the local administrators and security officers ensured that the grave was dug beyond the demarcated area, a distance away from the designated burial point," the 35-year-old man told Nation.Africa.
The situation is, however, dire for those whose entire land was marked for the project, to be implemented by the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha).
According to Bernard Auma, families have to negotiate with their relatives to provide them with burial spaces or inter their loved ones in public cemeteries.
Consolata Kosse, clutching her Sh3 million worn-out award letter, lives in fear every day of what could befall her family.
"My entire piece of land was demarcated for the road project and we were rendered squatters. I appeal to the government to fast-track the payment so that we can buy land where we can develop and live without prohibitions," she said.
The story is the same for the more than 300 residents whose land was identified for the construction of an interchange from the Mamboleo junction to the Kisumu-Busia road, right after Kisumu International Airport.
While Kenha officials have indicated that they wired Sh314 million to NLC to be paid to some residents, it has emerged that only Sh87 million was remitted to some residents who had claims of less than Sh1 million.
Though residents have made numerous trips to NLC and Kenha regional offices in Kisumu to follow up on the matter, nothing has materialised.
The issue has also been escalated to the Commission on Administrative Justice, which has written to the two agencies to expedite the settlements of claims whose values were determined in 2015.
In a September 21, 2020 letter, former Kenha director-general Peter Mundinia blamed the delay in paying the balance on limited funds provided by the government.
“Kenha is seeking to have the budget for the project enhanced so that the remaining amounts can be paid to the affected persons as soon as possible,” he said.
He, however, called on NLC to clarify whether they are still holding any funds from what was wired to them to pay displaced residents.
Kisumu West MP Aluoch Olago, while calling on the Treasury to release the balance, has urged NLC to provide details on how it used the money it received from Kenha.
“Once these issues are resolved, then I will pursue the issue of compensation at current land market rates,” Mr Olago said.