What you need to know:
- At least seven houses in the area had been burned in the past following similar clashes.
- Youths want public participation conducted before the project begins.
At least four houses were torched at Bonyunyu in Nyamira County on Monday evening by villagers opposed to the construction of a multibillion-shilling dam.
Two houses were razed at Nyamasege area as armed youth ransacked the village, targeting members and village officials backing the Sh6 billion project.
Mr Lukas Ong’onda, the owner of the houses, said he was working near his house when several armed youth came in with a jug of petrol that they used to set fire to the houses.
He escaped through the back door as the youths chanted and sang, castigating those backing the mega project.
Mr Ong’onda said they also threatened to kill his brothers if they do not stop supporting the project.
“I lost everything,” Mr Ong’onda told the Nation at the scene.
Gachuba Ward Representative Isaac Nchore was roughed up when he attempted to stop the youths from burning property.
The Nation team found the houses still smouldering and police from Keroka Police Station were at the scene.
At least seven houses in the area had been burned in the past following similar clashes.
Mr Ong’onda questioned why they were being targeted yet the project had not begun.
Mr Samuel Mogunda, who is leading protests, said they would not allow the project to go on unless proper public participation was conducted.
“Nobody has ever approached us to tell us about this so-called water project. They are not telling us how they going to compensate us for the land they want to use,” he said.
Mr Mogunda said they are ready to die as long as the project does not see the light of day.
“We say no to this water. If they want, let them take their project elsewhere,” said Mr George Mogire, a resident.
The youths protested on Monday despite initial assurances by officials of the Lake Victoria South Water Services Board that they had addressed the contentious issues over the dam project.
“Residents have said they are satisfied with the project and all the grey areas have been satisfactorily explained,” said Mr Victor Omanwa, the firm’s director.
But on Monday, some residents said they were unsatisfied with the board’s terms.
“We will not allow this to go on until all the sides have talked and agreed,” said Mr Mogire.