Governor Orengo opposes new Yala Swamp lease

Siaya Governor James Orengo. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group.

Governor James Orengo has faulted the move by the National Lands Commission (NLC) to lease a section of the Yala Swamp to Lake Agro Limited for a period of 66 years.

Speaking at the opening of St Andrews Cathedral Church in Bondo, Mr Orengo said there is a need to review the terms of lease by the community, NLC and investor

“The 66-year period is such a long time and we must get back to the drawing board and ensure that the community gets to benefit from the swamp,” said Mr Orengo.

Since NLC called for public participation on the leasing, Mr Orengo is the first leader to criticise the deal.

Misgivings

After documents detailing the deal were made public, residents have expressed their misgivings. In the plan, Lake Agro is set to get 6,899.2 hectares, which is almost double the 3,700 hectares NLC had allocated to Dominion Farms.

Lake Kanyaboli which is in the Yala swamp

Lake Kanyaboli which is in the Yala swamp. The community around the swamp is worried that a new investor might get into land portions that some of them have been cultivating.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Community Initiative Action Group, a local lobby, have opposed the deal.

“We shall proceed to court. We shall sue NLC, the individual commissioners and the county government of Siaya. There are lots of illegalities in the lease process that the community objected to yet the commissioners overlooked,” said the lobby’s director Chris Owala in a phone interview.

He added: “Yala Swamp is community land and in our submissions we demanded that the land be registered as such before it is leased out. Currently the land is registered as government trust land.”

Mr Owala also faulted NLC for the long lease period, saying the investor could use it to engage in dubious activities.

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