JUNE ULTIMATUM

Eldoret landowners threaten to stop bypass over compensation

Government is expected to pay Sh4.12 billion to 1,025 persons affected.

In Summary

• Landowners have given the government until the end of June. 

• County commissioner promises the government will pay. 

An artistic impression of the planned Eldoret bypass
COMPENSATION WOES: An artistic impression of the planned Eldoret bypass
Image: FILE

Landowners affected by construction of the Eldoret town bypass on Wednesday threatened to move to court to stop the project unless they are compensated by the end of June.

They said they have waited for the government payout since 2016 when the valuation process was completed.

The government is expected to pay Sh4.12 billion to 1,025 persons affected by the project along the Cheplaskei-Maili Tisa corridor.

 

Already the National Land Commission has paid Sh11.9 million to 39 traders at Maili Tisa, while a balance of Sh11.2 million is yet to be released to 35 others.

At a stormy meeting at Kapseret interchange, families whose land was acquired for the project said they have been subjected to untold suffering since they lost their sources of livelihood.

Caren Biwott, a single mother with a child living with a disability, said life had become unbearable because all her land fell within the project corridor. 

“I cannot grow any crops or undertake any development on the piece of land as directed by the Kenya Highways Authority who promised to compensate us as soon as valuation was completed.  Three years down the line we are still waiting. I cannot even feed or pay school fees for my children,” she said.

Uasin Gishu county commissioner Abdi Hassan pleaded with the residents to not disrupt the project as it will open up the region for business and help decongest Eldoret town.

Hassan said the NLC had promised to pay Sh367m from the Sh512m released more than eight months ago by Treasury as the first tranche of the compensation.

NLC paid out only Sh153m of that, raising suspicion and mistrust among the beneficiaries.

Hassan assured the landowners that the government will compensate all genuine beneficiaries, but the project must proceed to avoid additional costs in claims by contractors for idle time of their machines.

KenHA regional director Franklin Kipyator blamed the delay on missing documents saying some of the beneficiaries were yet to provide all the relevant documents to facilitate the release of their funds.

Hassan warned anybody intending to unfairly benefit from the money that they will be dealt with lawfully.

(Edited by O. Owino)