What you need to know:
- The farmers welcomed the setting up of the project in their area saying the move will enable their children get employment.
- They expressed optimism that the project will also open up the region as an investment hub.
- Kenwind Holdings Company Director Susan Nandwa promised to finalise the preparation of the names and list of beneficiaries within three weeks.
- The Lamu county government led by Deputy Governor Eric Mugo has been opposing the project.
Farmers in Mpeketoni, Lamu County have pledged their support for the Sh21 billion wind power plant to be set up in Baharini.
The wind power project is sponsored by a Kenyan firm Kenwind Holdings in partnership with a Belgian firm Electrawinds and the World Bank, through the International Finance Corporation.
The project is expected to produce 90 megawatts of electricity when completed.
The farmers welcomed the setting up of the project in their area saying the move will enable their children get employment.
They were speaking to the Nation shortly after a meeting held with the investors in the town to discuss compensation modalities for those whose land had been leased to the project.
Mr Isaac Gitau, one of the farmers who will be affected by the project at the Baharini settlement scheme, expressed his joy saying the project was a blessing in disguise.
“We welcome the project. It is a blessing for us. It has a lot of bonuses including creation of employment for our children,” said Mr Gitau.
“The investor has also promised to set up a Sh 40 million trust fund which will be geared towards assisting the needy and less fortunate among us,” he added.
The famers expressed optimism that the project will also open up the region as an investment hub.
Mr Simon Kamau expressed hope that the investment was going to alleviate poverty through promotion of education.
This is after the investor promised to increase the Sh15 million annual trust fund to Sh40 million for bursaries for the needy students within Lamu County.
He called on those opposing the wind power project to stop derailing development that is good for the residents of Mpeketoni and the entire Lamu County.
“I am aware of a few of our politicians who are opposed to this project. We need them to keep off. We need development in our area and this cannot come if a few individuals keep on politicising this matter,” said Mr Kamau.
Addressing the farmers during the meeting, Kenwind Holdings Company Director Susan Nandwa said they were forced to change the location of the proposed site due changes in wind speed and had to subsequently terminate the leases for a few of the farmers in Baharini.
She, however, promised to pay Sh350,000 goodwill each to the farmers whose leases were terminated against the Sh250,000 yearly fees that they had promised to pay those who were going to be within the project site.
Ms Nandwa also promised to finalise the preparation of the names and list of beneficiaries within three weeks.
She said there was need for the farmers to spend the money wisely.
She added that plans had been made with various banks to train the farmers on proper spending before they are given the money.
Ms Nandwa said the investment was key to the people of Lamu and the entire nation, maintaining that the 90MW wind power project will also attract other investment projects in the region.
She said 38 turbines with a 90MW capacity will be constructed on the 3,200-acre land which will be located about 20 kilometres from the new Lamu port.
REWARD FOR LOYALTY
“Let me assure you that as Kenwind Holdings we will ensure those who will be affected by the project, for the years they have remained loyal to the company they will be rewarded before we sign the final lease agreement.
“This is a very important project which will attract investors from all over the nation and the world at large,” said Ms Nandwa.
The Lamu county government led by Deputy Governor Eric Mugo has been opposing the project.
This has led to a section of the people going to court to stop the developer from acquiring land in the area for the project.
Farmers from the area are, however, demanding that the cases be withdrawn to allow the investor to compensate them and implement the project.
Mr Lorence Chokera, a county government representative, however, confirmed that if farmers are in agreement with the investor they have no objection.
“We don’t have a choice if the farmers are after the project. We will work based on the interest of the people of Lamu,” said Mr Chokera.