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Monday, March 27, 2017

Maasais hold demos against SGR over compensation issues

SGR./FILE
SGR./FILE

A group of youths yesterday held demonstrations on the Narok-Mai Mahiu road, protesting against the ongoing standard gauge railway project.

During the morning demo, the youths blocked the main road leading to the SGR offices, forcing police to intervene.

The over 100 demonstrators accused the Chinese contractor of failing to involve them in the project, and vowed to block the multi-billion project expected to be extended to Olkaria in Naivasha.

Julius Kiriaisi, one of those who led the demos, said the contractor was playing games with them by paying some of those affected and ignoring others.

“We have learnt that this project will not only affect our daily lives, but also reduce significantly pastures for our livestock,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Salau Kiruau, who said the railway would affect their way of life, boreholes and other infrastructure. He accused the contractor of illegally encroaching on private land and said compensation should be paid before the work starts.

“We want to benefit through jobs, water, tenders and be compensated for the grazing land that will be destroyed,” he said.

Kenya Coalition for Wildlife Conservation and Management chairman Sidney Quntai supported the demonstrators and said the land owners had not been consulted.

Quntai said there is no transparency in the project because the contractor is “working alone and failing to engage those affected, as required by the law”.

“This is not the first time the contractor has clashed with land owners over this route. It is now time this issue is resolved once and for all,” he said.

Elijah Koilel, a community leader from Narok called on the Kenya Railways Corporation to ensure everybody is compensated before the project starts.


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