•They say Lapsset project has not rendered any help to the local community in line with its corporate social responsibility.
•Lapsset regional manager Salim Bunu dismissed the claims and said the Lapsset presidential scholarship is among many ways the port has implemented CSR.
Lamu residents say they have not benefited from the new Lamu port despite being the host as the project proceeds towards completion.
Residents whose land borders the port in areas like Magogoni, Kwasasi, Mashunduani, Kililana, Mkondoni, Bobo and Mokowe say Lapsset has not rendered any help to the local community in line with its corporate social responsibility.
The construction which has been on since mid-2016 has seen the completion of the first berth while the second and third berths are set to be ready before the end of the year.
Abdallah Salim of Bobo village said many times, organisations and companies have installed water tanks in rural areas as part of their CSR but he wondered why Lapsset has not undertaken any single activity to change the lives of those around the port.
“We have seen companies and corporations put up new roads, hospitals and schools as part of their CSR across Kenya. This project has been around since 2016 but we have not seen them help the local community in any way. We want to see them enforce their CSR as they promised,” Salim said.
The residents said the Lapsset management should be ashamed for only giving out branded T-shirts, flyers and erecting huge billboards in the region instead of putting up meaningful development to help change the lives of the locals.
“We expected their CSR to be bigger but all they do is give us T-shirts. We know they owe us something better. Let them do something meaningful for the community here,” said Ernest Mbuthia of Kililana.
Lamu activist Ahmed Omar said giving people T-shirts instead of meaningful CSR was meant to brainwash the community.
“We have accepted the project because it will benefit us, Kenya and the world. What we want is for people to stop fooling us with T-Shirts and show us some serious CSR,” Omar said.
In his response, Lapsset regional manager Salim Bunu dismissed the claims and said the Lapsset presidential scholarship programme is among many ways the port has implemented CSR.
Bunu said the programme was launched by former President Mwai Kibaki in 2012 where he pledged affirmative action that would ensure 1,000 youth from Lamu are sponsored and empowered through education and skills in port-related matters and thereafter have them secure jobs at the new port once it assumes operations.
The action was to ensure that Lamu as the host of the Sh.2.5 trillion Lapsset project benefits from it.
Bunu, however, promised to engage the Nairobi office to ensure more CSR programs are undertaken.
“We have done it with the scholarships and more is still on the way,” he said.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris